Edwards: Last chance to impress

Wales Under 20 head coach Darren Edwards has made eight changes to the side that beat Scotland 33-3 as they prepare to face Italy in Cosenza on Friday (KO 6pm, BBC 2 Wales).

There is one new cap in Carmarthen Quins centre Rheon James, while hooker Kirby Myhill and wing Harry Robinson return to the side after injury. Calum Thomas replaces Luke Hamilton on the open side flank, scrum half Lewis Jones makes his first start and Matthew Morgan returns after making his Wales Sevens debut in Las Vegas.

Props Rob Evans and Will Taylor come in for Rhodri Jones, who is on Scarlets duty, and WillGriff John, with Evans making his first start in the side.

Wing Eli Walker and centre Jack Gadd are ruled out of this game through injury, while replacement prop Lewis Smout has returned from injury and will win his first cap if he comes off the bench.

Edwards said, “This is the last opportunity to give players game time before selecting our strongest squad for our two remaining games against Ireland and France.

“We need to expose as many players to as much international rugby as possible ahead of the Junior World Championship because that will require a strong squad effort and we want the squad to be as competitive as possible.

“The boys responded well to the changes we made for the Scotland game and we are expecting another step-up in performance and cohesion from the players in Italy.

“Italy had a difficult game against England, with England putting a lot of pace into the game. However, the Italians are a big, heavy team, and we will need to be up to scratch in the contact area and the set-piece.

“If we can keep the ball in place, we scored some good tries against Scotland so we will be hoping to further develop our attacking game.”

Wales Under 20 assistant coaches Richard Webster and Rob Appleyard will make the final touches to the side’s preparations for Friday’s match with Darren Edwards travelling to Glasgow with the Newport-Gwent Dragons.

Wales Under 20 v Italy, San Vito Stadium, Cosenza

Friday 25 February, 7pm local time (6pm UK time), BBC 2 Wales

Wales U20: Liam Williams (Llanelli), Adam Warren (Llandovery), Owen Williams (Blues / Cardiff), Rheon James (Carmarthen Quins), Harry Robinson (Blues); Matthew Morgan (Ospreys / Swansea), Lewis Jones (Pontypridd); Rob Evans (Scarlets / Carmarthen Quins), Kirby Myhill (Scarlets / Llanelli), Will Taylor (Ospreys / Swansea), Macauley Cook (capt, Blues / Cardiff), Cory Hill (Blues / Pontypridd), Edward Siggery (Pontypridd), Calum Thomas (Blues / Pontypridd), Ben Thomas (Ospreys / Bridgend).

Replacements: Ieuan Davies (Cardiff), Lewis Smout (Blues / Pontypridd), Luke Hamilton (Blues / Glamorgan Wanderers), Owen Sheppeard (Blues / Pontypridd), Jonathan Evans (Dragons / Newport), Steve Shingler (Scarlets / Llanelli), Ben John (Ospreys/ Aberavon). Travelling reserves: Matthew Screech (Blues, Pontypridd), Joseff Griffin (Blues / Cardiff)

Wales Under 20 Six Nations fixtures 2011

  • Wales 20 – 26 England – Saturday 5 Feb – Parc y Scarlets
  • Scotland 3 – 33 Wales – Friday 11 Feb – Stirling
  • Italy v Wales – Friday 25 Feb – 19.00 – Cosenza
  • Wales v Ireland – Friday 11 March – 19.10 – Parc y Scarlets
  • France v Wales – Friday 18 March – 20.30 – Albi

Tickets for Wales U20 v Ireland at Parc y Scarlets are just £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s and are available now from the Parc y Scarlets ticket office (tel / 0871 871 8088 / www.scarlets.co.uk )and from Ticketmaster tel 08442 777 888 / www.ticketmaster.co.uk


Leave a Reply