WALES U20s have named their squad to face England at Stadiwm CSM on Friday in the third round of the U20 Six Nations. (KO 7.15pm, S4C).
Head coach Byron Hayward has made one change to the backline with Ospreys winger Harri Houston replacing Llien Morgan while there are two new faces in the pack and two positional changes.
Harlequins’ Jonny Green returns to the second row after missing the game against Scotland with Wales captain Ryan Woodman switching to his preferred blindside flanker role.
Scarlets flanker Luca Giannini replaces the injured Morgan Morse while Cardiff Rugby’s Mackenzie Martin moves from the blindside to No 8 with Huw Davies unavailable due to a knee injury.
After two home victories against Scotland and Italy, England travel for the first time in this season’s championship where they arrive as serious challengers to Ireland’s title credentials after defeating Scotland 41-36 at the Stoop and Italy 32-25 at Kingsholm.
“England will come with a big driving game against us,” predicted Hayward. “That is one area we have had to work on and put a bit of work into this week because our defence of driving mauls needs to be better than what it has been. England, along with Italy and France, will be the same, coming at us with a driving mentality so we need to make sure we stop that legally at source.
“I think if we can do that and get parity possession-wise I’m confident we can beat England. I’ve been impressed with the way the boys have trained and applied themselves and played so far. We’ve showed some real good glimpses of what we are capable of and keeping 15 players on the field will be our chief focus for 80 minutes.
“If you look at our record over the two games, we have conceded 32 penalties and five yellow cards. So we need to get our house in order in certain areas and we have addressed those.
Despite the narrow defeat to Scotland last time out, Hayward praised the effort his side put in.
“I was really proud of the boys,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we made a lot of errors against Scotland. In terms of effort, commitment and pride they showed for the jersey, to keep them out just before halftime with 13 men was excellent work.
“We had a chat at halftime about a few tactical things and the execution 10 minutes after halftime was of the highest standard. They delivered exactly what we had spoken about. We scored two tries and ended up getting ahead in the second half. The game was there to be won but we just didn’t take our chance at the end.”
Wales U20 v England 20, Stadiwm CSM, Fri 24 Feb, 7.15pm (S4C)
15 Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)
14 Harri Houston (Ospreys)
13 Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby)
12 Harri Ackerman (Dragons)
11 Oli Andrew (Dragons)
10 Dan Edwards (Ospreys)
9 Archie Hughes (Scarlets);
1 Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths (Dragons)
2 Sam Scarfe (Dragons)
3 Ellis Fackrell (Ospreys)
4 Liam Edwards (Ospreys)
5 Jonny Green (Harlequins)
6 Ryan Woodman (Dragons – Capt)
7 Luca Giannini (Scarlets)
8 Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby)
16 Lewis Morgan (Scarlets)
17 Josh Morse (Scarlets)
18 Tomas Pritchard (Scarlets)
19 Owain Evans (RGC)
20 Lucas De La Rua (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Harri Williams (Scarlets)
22 Iwan Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs)
23 Bryn Bradley (Harlequins)