Head coach Geraint Lewis has named four young Ospreys in his Wales U19 side to take on Japan High Schools at Ystrad Mynach tomorrow afternoon (K.O 2.30pm).
Fullback Josh Thomas is joined by regional teammate Frankie Jones in the backline, with James Fender named in the pack and fellow Osprey Morgan Strong providing the cover on the bench.
Scarlets centre Joe Roberts, who featured for Wales against France in the U20 Six Nations, will captain the side.
Lewis is looking forward to the first of two games against the Japanese side, and he expects the tourists to offer an ‘unique challenge’.
"They will certainly offer some challenges as they have their own unique style of playing and their way mirrors their culture – they are very hard working, they put a massive amount of effort and commitment into their game and it’s going to be a new method of play for the boys to encounter but that is what international rugby is all about – playing different styles and coming up with different solutions to counter their threats," he said.
"This is the first time Wales have had an international team at U19 for a while and it’s something we’ve re-organised this year to hopefully give more players an opportunity to play at this standard and give them a better experience and chance to develop as rugby players and we’re all looking forward to the challenge of facing Japan twice before taking on England," he added.
Lewis, who is being assisted by Chris Horsman, Gethin Jenkins and Craig Everett, is hoping the prospect of playing for future Wales U20 squads, whether in this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship or next year’s Six Nations, will encourage his young players to shine.
"We’ve got the older U18 boys in this group as well and others who may not have been quite first choice players in this U20 Six Nations so it’s certainly an opportunity to use the U19s as a platform to showcase their talents and abilities.
"It is still an international team in its own right so will bring the usual pressures of performance and results are always key as any international rugby player will testify to."
Wales U19 will play a second international against Japan High Schools at Cardiff Arms Park on Wednesday (7.30pm) and take on England at Bridgend on Sunday 7th April (2pm).
15 Josh Thomas (Ospreys)
14 Ewan Rosser (Dragons)
13 Joe Roberts (Scarlets – CAPT)
12 Osian Knott (Scarlets)
11 Frankie Jones (Ospreys)
10 Evan Lloyd (Dragons)
9 Ellis Bevan (Exiles);
1 Garyn Phillips (Cardiff Blues)
2 Brodie Coghlan (Dragons)
3 Luke Yendle (Dragons)
4 Cai Davies (Cardiff Blues)
5 James Fender (Ospreys)
6 Ioan R Davies (Cardiff Blues)
7 Olly White (Exiles)
8 Sam Williams (Scarlets)
16 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues)
17 Dyln Bartlett (Dragons)
18 Adam Thomas (Scarlets)
19 Max Ayling (Dragons)
20 Morgan Strong (Ospreys)
21 Dafydd Land (Scarlets)
22 Dean James (Scarlets)
23 Leo Gilliland (Exiles)