Thomas to get first U20 Championship start

Centre Joe Thomas is set for his first start in the competition as Wales take on Australia for fifth place in Italy on Saturday (Viadana, 3pm local time).

19 year oldJoe Thomas will line up with his Ospreys team mates Dafydd Howells, Owen Watkin and Adam Beard as all four make the starting XV for Wales against Australia in the game to decide 5th place in the competition.

Coach co-ordinator Allan Lewis said, “The team has progressed so much during the tournament that we didn’t want to make too many changes for this last game, other than the forced changes due to injury and at hooker, where Ryan and Liam (Belcher) have alternated in the starting XV.

“We are delighted to be playing Australia in what is a big game in terms of final tournament positions. Other than Japan, we have played only Six Nations games this season so we are thrilled to be able to have a crack at a southern hemisphere side.

“Having lost our opening two games, a good performance and result on Saturday would be a pleasing outcome from the remainder of the tournament.

“I feel it’s going to be a high scoring game. Our young coaches encourage an open, ball in hand game and from what I’ve seen of Australia, they like to play a wide game too.

“A number of the players from both sides played each other at Under 18 level in Wales two years ago which we won 26-12 scoring four tries, so our players can take some confidence from that. What is key is that we concentrate on our performance. If we continue to progress as a team then tries will come and the result will take care of itself.”

Highlights of Saturday's game, and of Wales’ other matches in the tournament will be shown on S4C at 7pm on Saturday evening. The match is not being covered by the tournament host broadcasters, and therefore will not be available as a live broadcast.

Wales Under 20 team v Australia (Viadana, 3pm local time):
Dafydd Howells (Ospreys/ Neath); Elis-Wyn Benham (Blues/ Cardiff), Joe Thomas (Ospreys/ Swansea), Owen Watkin (Ospreys/ Bridgend), Joshua Adams (Scarlets/ Llanelli); Daniel Jones (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Tomos Williams (Blues/ Pontypridd); Luke Garrett (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Ryan Elias (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Dillon Lewis (Blues/ Pontypridd), Seb Davies (Blues/ Pontypridd), Adam Beard (Ospreys/ Aberavon), Tom Phillips (Scarlets/ Llanelli),  Ollie Griffiths (capt, Dragons/ Newport), Harrison Keddie (Dragons/ Ebbw Vale)

Replacements: Torin Myhill (Scarlets/ Llanelli), Keagan Bale (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Joe Jones (Blues/ Cardiff), Lee Taylor (Carmarthen Quins), Liam Belcher (Blues/ Pontypridd), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Lloyd Lewis (Dragons/ Newport), Barney Nightingale (Dragons / Newport)