Wales Under 20's Team
By Ian Davies | 18/06/2017
|Wales U20 braced for Italian job
|Wales have made four changes for their final encounter of the World Rugby U20 Championship against Italy today (2pm BST).
Following last week’s disappointing defeat to Scotland, Jason Strange’s side face the Azzurri in the seventh-place play-off at the Avchala Stadium.
In the backline Phil Jones replaces Will Talbot-Davies at full-back and Reuben Morgan-Williams pips Dane Blacker at scrum-half.
There are two more changes up front with Callum Bradbury coming into the second row and James Botham returning at No8 following injury.
And while Strange has been pleased with the quality of experience his players have gained during the tournament he is determined to finish on a positive note.
Strange said: “There are a few combinations that have been developing through the tournament, which have been going really well like Ioan Nicholas and Owen Lane. It is important that we keep some of that continuity but also freshen the squad up and give others some game time.
“There has been a lot of anger after the Scotland loss because it was a game that with five minutes left we have lost the kick-off and it’s cost us the game. The players won’t be lacking any emotion and they are determined to finish the tournament with a good performance.
“This tournament is all about emotion and every game we have lost has been in the balance so the positive is there is so much learning the players can take.
“Every moment in a game matters, every minute counts and the players will take a huge amount from the quality of experience and hopefully understand the standards they are striving for.
“We look at it from an individual development perspective and we have been really pleased with the progress of a lot of players. But we certainly want to leave Georgia on a positive.”
Like Wales, Italy go into the encounter on the back of just one win, against Ireland, and they were put to the sword 42-19 by Australia in the play-offs.
But Strange expects an emotionally charged physical performance from an Italy side that lost to Scotland by just a point.
He added: “When you look at their results so far they have had narrow results against Scotland and Ireland and New Zealand are at a different level.
“We expect them to bring a lot of physicality and that’s something we have to be ready for. We want to play well but it won’t just happen, the players have to match that physicality. If we play well it should be a good way to finish the tournament.”
Wales U20s to face Italy
15 Phil Jones (Ospreys)
14 Jared Rosser (Newport Gwent Dragons)
13 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets)
12 Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues)
11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)
10 Arwel Robson (Newport Gwent Dragons)
9 Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys);
1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)
2 Ellis Shipp (Newport Gwent Dragons)
3 Kieron Assiratti (Cardiff Blues)
4 Will Griffiths (Ospreys)
5 Callum Bradbury (Cardiff Blues)
6 Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues)
7 Will Jones (c) (Ospreys)
8 James Botham(Cardiff Blues)
16 Owen Hughes (Newport Gwent Dragons)
17 Tom Mably (Cardiff Blues)
18 Steff Thomas (Scarlets)
19 Aled Ward (Cardiff Blues)
20 Syd Blackmore (Bath Rugby)
21 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues)
22 Connor Edwards (Newport Gwent Dragons)
23 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues)