Wales have made eight changes to their starting XV ahead of tomorrow’s World Rugby U20 Championship game against Georgia at the Manchester City Academy Stadium.
Head Coach Jason Strange makes the changes after Tuesday’s heartbreaking 26-25 defeat to Ireland, a game that Wales led 17-0 at one stage, knowing that he needs to keep his squad fresh ahead of what is now an absolutely crucial game against the reigning champions, New Zealand, on Wednesday.
The 15.45 kick off sees an all new front for of Rhys Fawcett, Liam Belcher, and Leon Brown. In the second row Seb Davies comes in for Adam Beard, who has been given a nine week ban for making contact with the eye area of an Ireland player in Tuesday’s encounter. The final change in the pack sees Josh MacLeod come in at openside.
In the backline there are three changes, all in the inside back positions. Declan Smith comes in at scrum half, with Jarrod Evans starts at fly half, and Billy McBryde, son of former Welsh hooker Robyn, starting at inside centre.
Morgan Sieniawski, Kieran Williams, Joe Gage, and Jared Rosser come onto the bench, Rosser would be making his debut should he come on.
Speaking ahead of the game, Jason Strange said:
“The changes are in order to give players opportunities to develop at this level, and with the four day turnaround in between matches, it’s important every one of our squad plays a full part. This tournament is all about learning and the players are really keen to get back on the pitch and show they have learned lessons from Wednesday’s defeat.”
“After an impressive opening 30 minutes on Wednesday, we need to concentrate on getting the basics right tomorrow and if we do that, we know we are a match for anyone. Georgia are a physical, committed side. Their scrum half played at last year’s senior Rugby World Cup and their No 8 plays for Clermont so there is no shortage of quality but if we add attacking speed to a good set-piece platform, we know we can show what we are capable of.”
Wales U20 v Georgia U20 – Saturday 15.45, Manchester City Academy Stadum
Wales U20 XV
15 Rhun Williams (Cardiff Blues)
14 Tom Williams (Ospreys)
13 Joe Thomas (Ospreys)
12 Billy McBryde (Scarlets)
11 Keelan Giles (Ospreys)
10 Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues)
9 Declan Smith (Scarlets)
1 Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets)
2 Liam Belcher (Cardiff Blues)
3 Leon Brown (Newport Gwent Dragons)
4 Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues)
5 Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues)
6 Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets)
7 Josh Macleod (Scarlets)
8 Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons)
16 Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets)
17 Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues)
18 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues)
19 Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues)
20 Jared Rosser (Newport Gwent Dragons)
21 Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys)
22 Kieran Williams (Ospreys)
23 Joe Gage (Ospreys)