guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 6 October 2010 22.36 BST
Gareth Thomas scored a try on his Wales rugby league debut.
Gareth Thomas scored a try with his second touch as a dual code international but his Wales rugby league debut ended in a surprise 13-6 defeat by Italy in Wrexham tonight.
The former Wales and Lions rugby union captain, who was making his first appearance since suffering a groin injury more than two months ago, slid over for the game's first try. He was substituted after half an hour, in order to ensure his fitness for the first game of Wales's Alitalia European Cup campaign, against Scotland in Glasgow on Sunday.
The Wales coach, Iestyn Harris, treated the game as a development exercise by resting many of his senior players. A determined and enterprising Italy team pulled level at half-time through a Christophe Caligari try that was converted by Josh Mantellato. Ben Falcone surged over in the 61st minute and Ben Stewart kicked a late drop goal to secure a significant win for the Italians.
"The crazy thing is I never thought I would pull on the Wales shirt again when I retired from international rugby union," said Thomas. "So to be given this opportunity was so special, especially in a team when you're surrounded by a lot of kids at various stages of their development and were so proud to wear the Wales badge."
Harris said: "I think it says a lot for the progress we're making in Wales that we could take on an Italy side with a lot of experience in Australia with nine or 10 kids of under 19.
Do Italy even play League? - clearly Wales don't