Mike Phillips believes that Wales’ young guns will fare well from a battling display that saw Warren Gatland’s side escape from Rome with victory.
Two second-half tries from Josh Adams and Owen Watkin were enough to take the spoils at the Stadio Olimpico after Italy had asked potent questions of the visitors.
But former Wales scrum-half Phillips was pleased to see his former side get the job done on a tough night in Rome, where one man in particular caught the eye.
“I think they’ll learn so much from this game. The fact that it was tight, and the main thing in the end is that they got the victory,” he said.
“It was a bit of a disjointed performance on the whole. In the long run, they’ll get their rewards for this game further down the road.
“Thomas Young was outstanding in his first game – I loved the fact that he would just fill in at nine and was so comfortable with the ball in hand.”
And fellow Wales legend Gareth Thomas singled out another of Wales’ impressive performers as Gatland ponders his selection for their clash against England in a fortnight’s time.
“Everything that Owen Watkin did was absolutely superb. He’s put big pressure on Hadleigh Parkes for the England game,” he said.
“I think it’s all about the momentum. Wales need to keep going forward; they need to spot the players out. It’s also playing with your heads up, as well.”
Dan Biggar had put Wales in front at the break after slotting four penalties but a Braam Steyn try late on in the first half saw Italy press the visitors before Adams and Watkin intervened in the second 40.
And it was a performance from the hosts that certainly merited praise, according to seven-time Women’s Six Nations winner Maggie Alphonsi.
“Huge credit to them,” she said.
“A lot of the talk was around their defence. The way they were picking when they attacked at the breakdown was important to the first half.
“Also, they stopped Wales’ big performance getting over the gain line. Overall, I think Italy should be pleased with the way they played.”