Wales U19 head coach Geraint Lewis has made wholesale changes for tomorrow night’s second international against Japan High Schools at Cardiff Arms Park. (KO 7.30pm)
Josh Thomas, James Fender and Morgan Strong are named in the starting lineup and joined by fellow Osprey teammate Frankie Jones on the bench.
Only five players survive the squad rotation with midfield duo Joe Roberts and Osian Knott along with fly half Josh Thomas (who switches from full-back) selected to play back to back games against the Japanese side while prop Luke Yendle and second row James Fender are the only forwards to be retained.
“We said from the start we would give as many players as possible an opportunity to show their paces in the U18s programme. The second game against Japan gives more players an opportunity to build on the positives from the win on Saturday,” said Lewis.
Wales were deadlocked 10-10 at the interval in the first game against Japan High Schools at Ystrad Mynach, but once the home side got to grips with the tenacious opposition, four second half tries ensured a 36-24 victory.
“It was pleasing to see the boys respond. We scored points when we had opportunities and we were quite clinical at times. Our line-out, both offensively and defensively, was pretty good too."
“Japan offered something different for the boys – you can prepare as much as you like for a game like that but it’s not until you actually experience it and see how difficult it is to adapt to that style and brand of rugby, that you find out how tough a challenge they present."
“In all my years of rugby, I’ve never seen line-speed like it and that’s what’s great for the boys, coming up against different styles and challenges and countering it."
“I have no doubt tomorrow will provide another stern test for the boys,” he concluded.
Wales U19s v Japan High Schools
Cardiff Arms Park, Wednesday 27th March, KO 7.30pm
15 Dean James (Scarlets)
14 Harri Doel (Scarlets)
13 Joe Roberrts (Scarlets – Capt)
12 Osian Knott (Scarlets)
11 Leo Gilliland (Exiles)
10 Josh Thomas (Ospreys)
9 Dafydd Land (Scarlets);
1 Dylan Bartlett (Dragons)
2 Dom Booth (Scarlets)
3 Luke Yendle (Dragons)
4 Max Ayling (Dragons)
5 James Fender (Ospreys)
6 Benji Hoppe (Dragons)
7 Gwilym Bradley (Exiles)
8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys)
16 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues)
17 Garyn Phillips (Cardiff Blues)
18 Henri Hibbs (Dragons)
19 Olly White (Exiles)
20 Ioan R Davies (Cardiff Blues)
21 Ellis Bevan (Exiles)
22 Evan Lloyd (Dragons)
23 Frankie Jones (Ospreys)