Sam Parry celebrates first start for Wales with a try

Sam Parry

Haverfordwest product Sam Parry will not forget his first start for Wales in a hurry.

The Ospreys hooker played a stormer as Wayne Pivac’s team beat Italy 38-18 at Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday to claim fifth place in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Wales narrowly led 14-13 at half time with Kieran Hardy and Parry grabbing tries. Centre Marco Zanon gathered a clever chip ahead by Paola Garbisi to canter over for the Azzurri.

After the break Johan Mayer scored that gave the visitors the lead, but the Wales bench proved strong and was a telling factor as Gareth Davies, George North and Justin Tipuric all powered over for tries, with Callum Sheedy adding 13 points.

Finally, the Wales lineout and scrums functioned much better, a lot of that praise is due for Parry as his excellent throwing and solid hooking paved the way for the pack to gain the initiative.

It was not an easy afternoon for Pivac’s team who were indebted to the brilliant back row displays from Tipuric and man-of-the-match Taulape Faletau.

This victory has given some breathing space to Pivac and his coaching staff, but this performance will not paper over the cracks of a disappointing 2020 as they have only won three games and suffered seven loses.

Special praise for Stephen Varney who made his first start for Italy at scrum half and he played well, provided a slick service to half back partner Garbisi.

Varney was raised in Pembrokeshire but qualifies for Italy through his Italian grandparents on the side of his mother Valeria.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: "For us it was really important to win the game and get some more questions answered about some of the young players.
“Some of the older boys stood up and, in the end, we got a reasonable result.
“As frustrating as this eight-week campaign has been at times we have learned a lot, now we need a squad that can do well in the Six Nations.”

Wales: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Louis Rees-Zammit; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones (Captain), James Botham, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes.

Italy: Jacopo Trulla; Luca Sperandio, Marco Zanon, Carlo Canna, Monty Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Danilo Fischetti, Luca Bigi (Captain), Giosuè Zilocchi, Marco Lazzaroni, Niccolo Cannone, Maxime Mbanda, Johan Meyer, Braam Steyn.
Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, Pietro Ceccarelli, Cristian Stoian, Michele Lamaro, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Allan, Federico Mori.