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Emanuel bags a try as Wales ease to victory

International | 3rd April 2024

Steffan Emanuel bagged a try as Wales Under-18s bounced back from an agonising defeat to England with victory over Portugal. 

Wales scored 21 unanswered second half points to stroll to a 35-10 victory in round two of the U18 men’s Six Nations Festival in Parma.

It proved the perfect boost as Wales now head for their final match against France on Sunday with a five-try victory behind them.

Head coach Richie Pugh made plenty of changes for the encounter but there were still three Blue and Blacks in the match-day squad - in Joseff Jones, Tom Howe and Sion Davies - as well as Emanuel and Tom Bowen who will return to the Arms Park in the summer. 

Portugal proved stubborn opponents and gave Richie Pugh’s side a solid workout in the first half but Wales’ strong bench made an impact in the second half as the win was safely secured.

Wales, in their alternative white strip received the kick-off and immediately showed their intent to run the ball however the danger signs were there when Portugal winger Martim Bento went close in the corner against the run of play.

Lewis Edwards scored the opening try in the 12th minute after good work from the forwards gave the big centre the simple task of crashing over. Steff Jac Jones added the extras.

Playing with width and plenty of composure, Portugal captain Miguel Romero went over in the 20th minute. Tomas Marques levelled the score with an excellent conversion.

Hooker Ruben Cummings lost the ball forward over the try-line but it didn’t prove costly as Wales were quickly on the score board again when Tudur Jones was on hand to take Ryan Jones’ off-load to pounce. Steff Jac Jones added the extras to put Wales 14-7 in front.

Portugal refused to buckle and nearly scored again but Eduardo Uva blew a clear cut chance down the blindside after scrum half Franciso Macedo burst clear but threw a brick to his supporting hooker who dropped the ball with the try-line at his mercy.

Marques banged over a simple penalty after repeated Welsh offences to bring Portugal to within three points of Wales at the break.

The opening exchanges of the second half was played at a frantic pace as neither side was able to seize control.

Wales were denied again when Tom Howe was incorrectly deemed to have the ball held up over the line. Alex Ridgway, who made his presence felt as a replacement, was then inches short but Tudur Jones was on hand to sneakily dab the ball down for his second try. Steff Jac Jones’ conversion made it 21-10 in Wales favour after 54mins.

Tudur Jones then pick pocketed the Portuguese backs and raced 40m to run to the try-line unopposed for his hat-trick. His halfback partner added the extras to make it four from four as Wales had suddenly leapt to a 28-10 lead.

Steffan Emanuel turned on the afterburners to burst through a slight gap in the Portugal defensive line to score Wales fifth try and Carwyn Jones sealed the victory with an excellent touchline conversion.

Tries: Lewis Edwards, Tudur Jones (3), Steffan Emanuel; Cons: Steffan Jac Jones (4), Carwyn Jones.

Portugal: Try: Miguel Romero; Con: Tomas Marques; Pen: Marques