Wales have named their side for Wednesday’s opening game in the World Rugby U20 Championships.
Head Coach Geraint Lewis’ side will face Australia in Beziers at 8pm (BST), with fixtures against Japan and reigning champions New Zealand in Group A to come.
Lewis has selected Cai Evans at full back, the young Osprey is the son of former Wales and British & Irish Lions winger Ieuan. Leicester Tigers’ Tommy Reffell continues his captaincy that began in the U20 Six Nations, he starts a blindside flanker, while fellow Welsh Exiles Rhys Davies of Bath starts in the second row.
Speaking ahead of the game, Lewis said: “Selection has been very difficult, with the entire squad working hard and putting in lots of preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship, competition for places is strong, but we’ve gone with the team which we feel is best suited to the challenge presented to us by Australia.”
“It’s quite an experienced team, with some players having enjoyed exposure to the Guinness Pro14 this year. Due to our approach during the Six Nations in giving opportunities to the entire squad, we’ve got a strong nucleus of players who are adept and happy at U20 level. Hopefully those experiences can hold them in good stead on Wednesday.”
“Australia are a formidable rugby nation that always produce talented players, with the limited footage we’ve seen of them, we know they’re a big side, and from last year’s encounter we’re aware that they present a real challenge with ball in hand.”
“It’s exciting for us to play southern hemisphere opposition, not least because it’s quite new for most of the squad. It’s what we’re here for: to test ourselves against the best.”
Wales U20 v Australia U20: Wednesday, 19.45 (BST), Beziers (live on www.worldrugby.org and S4C)
Wales U20 XV:
15 Cai Evans (Ospreys)
14 Rio Dyer (Dragons)
13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets)
12 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets)
11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)
10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues)
9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues)
1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)
2 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)
3 Rhys Henry (Ospreys)
4 Rhys Davies (Bath)
5 Max Williams (Dragons)
6 Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers, captain)
7 Dan Davis (Scarlets)
8 Taine Basham (Dragons)
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake (Ospreys), 17 Rhys Davies (Scarlets), 18 Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues), 19 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets), 20 Lennon Greggains (Dragons), 21 Harri Morgan (Ospreys), 22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues), 23 Joe Goodchild (Dragons).
Wales’ World Rugby U20 Championship Fixtures:
Wednesday 30th May: v Australia, 20.00 (BST), Beziers
Sunday 3rd June: v New Zealand, 15.30 (BST), Beziers
Thursday 7th June: v Japan 17.30 (BST), Perpignan