WALES U20s began their Six Nations quest with a disappointing 17-7 loss at the hands of Italy.

The game was played at Stadiwm Zip World in Colwyn Bay and drew a large crowd for the occasion, but the young Welsh side were unable to build momentum after an early score against a powerful Italian side that has shown a marked improvement in recent years.

Despite the eventual result, it was the home side who started off on the front foot and they were rewarded for their early endeavours when Sam Costello broke the visiting rear-guard for the game’s first score, which he also converted.

This was met by a strong response from the away side, who got back on level terms soon after when a well-worked move presented a chance to Matteo Drudi, who made no mistake with the touchdown.

Paolo Garbisis was unable to despatch the conversion, but he did make up for this miss late in the first half when he successfully drilled over a penalty after another impressive period of possession to give Italy a slender one-point cushion at the break.

After the interval saw both sides enjoy large periods of possession in what turned out to be an immensely physical encounter, but the tie was settled thanks to the boot of Garbisi with three penalties following a series of infringements.

This was only the second ever victory Italy have achieved over their Welsh rivals since they entered the Six Nations U20 competition, with Italy's Pembrokeshire-born scrum-half Stephen Varney named as man of the match after a standout display.

Wales will be hoping for better fortune during their next outing at Ireland next Friday, before making the return to Colwyn Bay for their clash against France on February 21.