Thomas can't save Wales
Experienced visitors hit back to seal victory at the Racecourse
Last Updated: 06/10/10 10:27pm
Thomas: early try on debut
Italy overcame an early try from Wales debutant Gareth Thomas to record a 13-6 victory over their hosts in Wrexham.
Thomas took just nine minutes to make an impact in his first appearance for his country in the 13-man code, touching down on his home ground after good work by team-mate Ian Watson.
Lewis Reece added the goal to give Iestyn Harris' team a 6-0 lead in the rearranged international at the Racecourse Ground.
However Thomas' night didn't last too much longer, the 36-year-old - who missed the last two months of his first season with Crusaders because of a groin injury - having to be withdrawn from the action after 25 minutes.
With many of Wales' starters being rested ahead of Sunday's opening Alitalia European Cup match in Scotland, a youthful side couldn't hang on.
Former French junior international winger Christophe Caligari's converted score after 34 minutes meant the sides went in level at the break.
The Italians, including players born in Australia, France and the United Kingdom as well as Italy, then hit the front for the first time thanks to Ben Falcone.
The youngster went in at the corner and Josh Mantellato added the conversion from out wide, putting an experienced Azzurri team 12-6 ahead.
Reece had a try disallowed for a forward pass five minutes from the end before Italy winger Ben Stewart kicked a late drop goal to clinch the victory.