BACKS coach Gareth Wyatt believes Wales Women will prosper if they can get their hands on more ball in Italy than they did against France in their Six Nations opener.

Carys Phillips' side found the going tough against the reigning champions, who ran in nine tries in a 52-3 win in Montpellier.

Italy also got their tournament off to a flying start with a stunning bonus-point victory against Scotland in Glasgow and will be buoyant for the clash in Lecce on Saturday (kick-off 7pm).

Wales were beaten 22-15 by the Italians last year but former Dragons speedster Wyatt is confident that his charges can prosper by stretching their hosts.

"Italy will be a big challenge as well, as we found out last year. We aren't a big side, and hopefully we can move them around, but we need to win more possession," he said.

"It was always going to be tough in France because they were up against a real quality outfit. Their half-backs controlled things well for them and brought their runners into the game.

"Their offloading game was difficult to deal with. There were aspects where we needed to be on top of our game if we were going to be able to stay with them and make a better game of it.

"There are bits we are disappointed with, and we had an opportunity to get a try in the second half but instead they went 90 metres to score, but there were a lot of young girls out there who will have learned a lot from that and they will take some confidence into the game in Italy as a result."

England and France meet in Doncaster on Sunday for what is likely to be a title decider but Wyatt believes Wales, who had a strong autumn series, can enjoy a good finish after being bottom last year.

"The England and France games in this competition are huge. Then there are the rest of us fighting it out," admitted Wyatt.

"The commitment the Welsh players showed was magnificent and Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Lisa Neumann and Hanah Jones put in some huge hits. But it just showed the huge gulf in the level of rugby.

"France are one of the best teams in the world and are used to playing at that level. We have got a young squad and it was the first time lots of the players had played in an atmosphere like that and against a team of that stature.

"They won't come up against a team like that week in, week out and, apart from England, they won't meet a more physical side than that.

"We want to win every game, and we were disappointed with the final result, but the bigger picture is where we end up at the end of the Six Nations campaign."