Six Ospreys in Wales U20 team for France

Rory Thornton returns to international duty this weekend after two weeks on regional duty and he will again captain the Wales U20s in a side that features five of his Ospreys teammates.

The starting line-up to face France includes five changes from the side that narrowly lost to Scotland a fortnight ago (36-34).

Captain returns to the Wales Under 20 set-up after featuring for the Ospreys against Edinburgh and Glasgow, while Joe Thomas gets a chance on the left wing just weeks after his regional debut against Gloucester in the LV= Cup.

Dafydd Howells, Dan Jones and Tom Phillips are unavailable for selection through injury, with James Whittingham, Jarrod Evans and Jordan Viggers starting at full back, outside half and blindside flanker respectively. Ospreys pair Joe Gage and Jon Fox have been brought into the squad and feature on the bench. The other Ospreys featuring are centre Owen Watkin, who starts, and second row Adam Beard, named among the replacements.

Coach co-ordinator Allan Lewis said, “While there are a few players out injured this week, the situation gives others an opportunity to play at this level and the changes certainly don’t weaken the team.

“After beating world champions England and scoring five tries away from home against Scotland, we have proved in this tournament that this group is capable of playing exciting, purposeful rugby. Our discipline let us down against Scotland but we have worked hard this week and are determined to stick to our playing principles and take our game to France.

“We have huge respect for France. They are a very good side that has displayed attractive, 15-man rugby in their first two games. They have a talented back division but equally they have an ability to play through their forwards so it’s imperative we concentrate on our performance if we are to get a result on Saturday night.”

Wales Under 20 v France (Saint Gaudens, Saturday 28 February, 8.55pm local time): 

James Whittingham (Blues); Joshua Adams (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Garyn Smith (Blues), Joe Thomas (Ospreys); Jarrod Evans (Blues), Tom Williams (Blues); Luke Garrett (Dragons), Liam Belcher (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Joe Davies (Dragons), Rory Thornton (capt, Ospreys),  Jordan Viggers (Blues), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Harrison Keddie (Dragons)

Replacements: Torin Myhill (Scarlets), Keagan Bale (Dragons), Alex Jeffries (Dragons), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Jon Fox (Ospreys), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Joe Gage (Ospreys), Barney Nightingale (Dragons)