Wales women picked up their first-ever Test victory with a comprehensive home win over Italy in Cross Keys, in European Championship B North. Bridgend winger Brittony Price led the way with three of their eleven tries as the hosts dominated the second period, having led 20-0 at the break.
Head coach Tom Brindle commented: “We came with an intent to stick to our game plan, which we did for 70 minutes, so I’m very happy. The side did what they needed to do and delivered a really good team performance.”
Brindle named two debutants, Anne-Marie Sayle and Katie Carr joining her twin sister Rosie, who opened the scoring in the corner in the fourth minute. Eleri Michael doubled the lead on eight minutes but it took until just before the half-hour for Wales to get their third try, Emily Hughes crossing and London Broncos team-mate Kathryn Salter adding the extras.
Price went 80 metres just before the break for her first, Fern Davies racing over just after it. Italy had a couple of chances, their best when captain Virginia Pinarello went close and laid the ball off to Rebecca Pantaleoni who dropped it as she was diving for the line.
Price completed her treble, sandwiching a score by skipper Bryonie King. Joeann McGuire went 40 metres for her try, hooker Carys Marsh and Castleford’s Sayle completing the scoring and Salter finished with eight goals.
Italy, in their second Test, gave debuts to three players, Silvia Gai, Ludovica Gurrieri and Giuliana Zaffarana and twice came close to scoring in the second half. Full-back Pantaleoni said: “It’s good to be on a European platform and to improve with each game we need more practice. We all come from different types of backgrounds, we’re developing and we’ve been doing some really good work.”
Eleri Michael, Anne-Marie Sayle, Kathryn Salter (London Broncos), Rosie Carr, Brittony Price, Amberley Ruck, Rhi Parker, Lauren Aitken, Carys Marsh, Emily Hughes, Bryonie King, Charlie Mundy, Bethan Dainton
Subs (all used): Molly Reardon, Joeann McGuire, Fern Davies, Katie Carr
Tries: R Carr (4), Michael (8), Hughes (28), Price (39, 53, 61), Davies (46), King (57), McGuire (72), Marsh (75), Sayle (79)
Goals: Ruck 0/2, Salter 8/9
Rebecca Pantaleoni, Rwan Hassnien, Giulia Colangeli, Silvia Gai, Ludovica Gurrieri, Giada Arzenton, Alessandra Menotti, Rosa Bettolati, Martina Dall’ Antonia, Marika Ascione, Marvin Severgnini, Giulia Iozzia, Virginia Pinarello
Subs (all used): Giuliana Zaffarana, Camila Giacomazzo, Siria Raisa, Altea Forto
Referee: Fiona McConn (Ireland)