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Wales U20s side to face Italy announced

WALES U20s head coach Byron Hayward has named his side to face Italy at Parc Eirias on Sunday in the final round of the U20 Six Nations (KO 2pm, BBC1 Wales).

There are a total of eight changes as well as a positional switch for Joe Hawkins who moves from centre to fly half.

In the backs Cameron Winnett returns to full back in place of Iestyn Hopkins, who moves down to the replacements bench.

Scarlets’ Josh Hathaway will make his debut on the right wing in place of Harri Houston while Dragons’ Oli Andrew returns on the other wing, replacing Tom Florence.

With Hawkins switching positions, Scarlets’ centre Eddie James comes back into the midfield after starting from the bench last week against France.

Up front Ospreys’ Cameron Jones gets his first start at loosehead prop ahead of Cardiff Rugby’s Joe Cowell who starts from the replacements bench.

The other changes are all in the back row with Cardiff flanker Alex Mann returning after suspension, Bath Rugby’s Tom Cowan recovering from injury to start on the openside while Dragons No 8 Ben Moa gets a chance to start just for the second time in the campaign after impressing as a second half replacement against France.

Scarlets duo Luke Davies and Josh Phillips could make their Wales U20s debut if called upon from the replacements bench.

Wales defeated Italy last summer in the Six Nations but the last time the two teams met in North Wales Italy came away victorious, so Hayward is aware of the threat they pose.

“Italy are a very strong team at U20s level,” he said. “To beat England, defensively they were outstanding that day, so we have to make sure we play in the right areas and be a bit smarter with our game management. Particularly from last week in the first half we could have kicked tactically better, and we have to make sure we execute our chances.”

Although Wales have only claimed one victory so far this championship, Hayward is satisfied the squad has improved as the campaign has progressed.

“It’s 50-50 about performance and development,” he said. “With this game on Sunday we would have used 36 players and that’s an important thing as well. Giving players opportunities, providing they deserve it and work hard for it because it’s not about giving caps away. You have got to earn the cap but I think we have got it right in terms of balance.”

Wales U20s v Italy U20s, Parc Eirias, Sunday 20 March, KO 2pm (BBC1 Wales)
15 Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)
14 Josh Hathaway (Scarlets)
13 Bryn Bradley (Harlequins)
12 Eddie James (Scarlets)
11 Oli Andrew (Dragons)
10 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys)
9 Morgan Lloyd (Dragons);
1 Cameron Jones (Ospreys)
2 Morgan Veness (Ealing Trailfinders)
3 Adam Williams (Dragons)
4 Benji Williams (Ospreys)
5 Ryan Woodman (Dragons)
6 Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – Capt)
7 Tom Cowan (Bath Rugby)
8 Ben Moa (Dragons)

16 Connor Chapman (Dragons)
17 Joe Cowell (Cardiff Met)
18 Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby)
19 Lewis Jones (Ospreys)
20 Ethan Fackrell (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Luke Davies (Scarlets)
22 Josh Phillips (Scarlets)
23 Iestyn Hopkins (Ospreys)