World Cup Report: Wales 16-32 Italy

Italy spoiled the Wales rugby league party at the Millennium Stadium with a 32-16 win over the hosts.

Outside backs Josh Mantellato and Aiden Guerra shone as Carlo Napolitano’s men won a second half arm wrestle and scored three late tries to secure victory.

The impressive Guerra scored two tries of his own before a fine break on the last tackle set up Chris Centrone for the gamebreaking try.

Italy, fresh from their shock 15-14 win over England last Saturday, started well and had their fair share of territory and possession.

All Wales could muster in the opening exchanges was a chip kick from Lloyd White that was hacked on by Ian Webster, but too long for a try opportunity.

From the resulting 20m tap, Italy started a drive up field. Prop Paul Vaughan burst through to lay the platform, and Sydney Roosters centre Aiden Guerra managed to find a gap on the next play for the first score of the game.

Wales had to wait until the 15th minute for their first foray in to the Italy redzone, and they came away triumphant.

With everyone expecting a chip kick to the corner, White grubbered on the last, and the bounce caught out Guerra, with the ball ricocheting off him and past full-back Anthony Minichiello, enabling Ben Evans to race on and touch down, levelling the scores at 6-6.

Wales thought they had hit the front minutes later when Elliot Kear pinched the ball in a tackle and raced away to score, only for the video referee to correctly judge that the Bradford winger had took it from Cameron Ciraldo in a two-man tackle.

Guerra scored his second try on the 20 minute mark, when he took on Minichiello’s short ball, and although it looked that White and Kear had got him on his back, he was able to spin round and touch the ball down for a score.

Mantellato added the extras, and he tagged on a penalty goal shortly after to extend Italy‘s lead to 14-6.

But Wales ended the first half strongly, and a succession of penalties had them camped in Italy‘s half. Jacob Emmitt and Jordan James both went close, and the pressure finally told minutes before the interval.

A superb offload by Rhys Evans sent Kear away down the right wing, and he put Rhodri Lloyd around the full-back to score a try, Lloyd saluting the Millennium Stadium crowd as he touched down.

Wales started the second half strongly, and hit the front for the first time when Kear rose to claim Seamark’s crossfield kick at the second attempt to touch down.

The lead was short lived, as Mantellato got some open space on the right wing, and powered his way to the line in spite of the attention of three defenders.

At 18-16 to Italy, it seemed we were heading for a tit-for-tat second half, but it didn’t come.

Italy dominated field position, and Wales struggled to get out of their half.

As time wore on, Wales‘ luck finally ran out on 69 minutes, when Mantellato jumped highest to claim Ghietti’s high kick, before offloading for a walk in try for James Tedesco. The video referee was consulted, but he judged that Mantellato hadn’t been tackled, and the try stood.

The Italians backed that up with a decisive score minutes later, when Guerra took on the defence on the last, looked like he was heading for a dead end, until he flicked out a brilliant offload to present a walk-in for Centrone.

Mark Minichiello crossed in the final minute to add more gloss to the scoreline, and cap an impressive display from the Italians, who continue to build momentum as a force to be reckoned with in the tournament.

 

Wales: R Evans, Kear, Lloyd, Webster, Williams, White, Seamark, Kopczak, Budworth, Flower, B Evans, Frizell, Patrick. Interchanges: Dudson, Lupton, James, Emmitt.

Italy: A Minichiello, Mantellato, Tedesco, Guerra, Centrone, Falcone, Ghietti, Laffranchi, Parata, Vaughan, Minichiello, Ciraldo, Riethmuller. Interchanges: Nasso, Gardel, Tramonte, Santi.

Wales scorers: Tries – B Evans, Lloyd, Kear. Goals – White 2.

Italy scorers: Tries – Guerra 2, Mantellato, Centrone, M Minichiello. Goals: Mantellato 4.

Referee: Ashley Klein

Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Photo courtesy of www.swpixrlwc2013.com

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