Wales (12) 16
- Tries: Evans, Lloyd, Kear
- Goals: White 2
Italy (14) 32
- Tries: Guerra 2, Mantellato, Tedesco, Centrone, M Minichiello
- Goals: Mantellato 4
Late tries by James Tedesco and Chris Centrone helped Italy get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over Wales.
Wales trailed by two points going into the final 12 minutes of the game but the Italians flexed their muscles to pull away for the win.
Elliot Kear went over early in the second half for Wales after earlier scores for Rhodri Lloyd and Ben Evans.
But Aidan Guerra scored two tries as the Italians showed their experience.
The Italians had gone into the game full of confidence after their surprise victory over England last week and the win in this Group C/D crossover game will boost their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.
It was a solid performance from Italy and the big players stood out. Anthony Minichiello, Aiden Guerra, that little bit of extra class and they thoroughly deserved the win. Wales will now need to hope someone beats the Italians.
Wales will still hope to qualify for the quarter-finals - and a likely duel with Australia in Wrexham - if they can can win their remaining Group D matches and coach Iestyn Harris must pick his side up to face the United States next Sunday and then the Cook Islands on Sunday, 10 November.
Guerra used his NRL expertise with the Sydney Roosters to prove a constant thorn in the Wales side and put his side ahead early on thanks to a powerful run by Paul Vaughan.
Evans hit back for Wales but Guerra put his side ahead again on 20 minutes and Josh Mantellato kicked a penalty to edge them further ahead.
Wales were struggling to get field position but three minutes before half-time Rhys Evans released Kear, who fed Rhodri Lloyd for an unchallenged run to the line, and Lloyd White's kick made it 14-12 at the break.
Kear gave Wales the lead for the first time when he plucked the ball out of the air and touched down three minutes into the second half and although White missed the kick, the score encouraged the hosts.
Mantellato scored his fifth try for his country and but missed the extras to leave the match delicately poised.
Wales defended strongly as the match entered the final quarter but they started to look tired and the line was finally broken by Tedesco 10 minutes from time when he touched down in the corner.
Centrone made sure of the win before Mark Minichiello had the final say with a try on the hooter.
R. Evans, Kear, Lloyd, Webster, Williams, White, Seamark, Kopczak, Budworth, Flower, B. Evans, Frizzel, Patrick.
Dudson, Lupton, James, Emmitt.
A. Minichiello, Mantellato, Tedesco, Guerra, Centrone, Falcone, Ghietti, Laffranchi, Parata, Vaughan, M. Minichiello, Ciraldo, Riethmuller.
Tramonte, Nasso, Santi, Gardel.
Ashley Klein (Australia).