Rugby League World Cup: Italy run in six tries as they beat Wales 32-16 in opener
Last Updated: October 26, 2013 7:43pm
Italy made an excellent start to their World Cup campaign as they beat co-hosts Wales 32-16 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Fresh from their shock triumph over England last weekend, the Azzurri impressed once again as they ran in six tries to silence the home fans in Cardiff.
Aidan Guerra (two), Joshua Mantellato, James Tedesco, Chris Centrone and Mark Minichello all touched down with Mantellato kicking four goals, while Ben Evans, Rhodri Lloyd and Elliot Kear replied for Wales.
Guerra - fresh from an NRL Grand-Final triumph with Sydney Roosters - quickly made his mark, twisting over from close range for the first try on seven minutes.
Wales drew level when stand-off Lloyd White's kick took a deflection and then a wicked bounce to present Bridgend-born prop Evans with his first try for his country.
The Welsh had a try disallowed when second rower Tyson Frizzell was adjudged to have stolen the ball in a two-man tackle and they fell behind again midway through the first half when Guerra, who has played must of his rugby for the Roosters in the second row, demonstrated his strength to take two men over the line with him for his second try.
Mantellato kicked his second conversion and added a penalty to stretch his side's lead to 14-6 before a break from winger Rhys Williams set up a try for Lloyd to keep the game on a knife edge.
Trailing 14-12 at the break, Wales went in front for the first time early in the second half when right winger Kear leapt superbly at the corner to collect the ball from White's high kick and touch down for his 10th try in national colours.
But the lead lasted only two minutes as Mantellato produced a strong finish to claim a third Italian try and they almost scored again when full-back and captain Anthony Minichiello went clear only to be brought back for a forward pass.
Wales were forced to defend desperately as the visitors dominated the final quarter and they finally cracked when the outstanding Mantellato collected scrum-half Ryan Ghietti's crossfield kick to get his centre Tedesco over the line.
The excellent Guerra then carved out a score for Centrone and second rower Minichiello rounded off the scoring with a last-minute try which gave his side a flattering margin of victory.