Young centre Joe Thomas is in line for his first outing at the World Rugby U20 Championship after being named among the replacements for Wednesday’s game against Japan (5.30pm UK time, Viadana).
The 19-year old Swansea centre made his Ospreys debut in the LV= Cup game against Gloucester at the end of January and was named Most Improved Elite Youth Player at the region in May, after a season where he scored 11 tries in 12 games for the All Whites.
With four Eyasses, Dafydd Howells, Owen Watkin, Adam Beard and skipper, Rory Thornton, retaining their places in the starting XV, it means the Ospreys again have five in the matchday 23 despite Jon Fox, on the bench in the first two games, missing out on this occasion.
Coach co-ordinator Allan Lewis said, “We have reviewed the England game, looked at our defensive weaknesses in the first 30 minutes especially and how to improve them. It is time to move on to the Japan game now, and we are certainly not taking them lightly.
“They pose a threat, especially with the ball in hand, they attack from anywhere so it is vital we concentrate on producing a good performance that secures a win first and foremost. If we manage that and to score some tries, we will look at bonus points and points difference but we must get that win first.
“The changes in the 23, with Torin Myhill, Lee Taylor and Joe Thomas coming onto the bench, ensure all our squad members will have been part of a matchday 23 at the Pool stage.”
Wales Under 20 v Japan (Viadana, Wednesday 10 June, 5.30pm UK time):
Dafydd Howells (Ospreys/ Neath); Elis-Wyn Benham (Blues/ Cardiff), Garyn Smith (Blues/ Pontypridd), Owen Watkin (Ospreys/ Bridgend), Joshua Adams (Scarlets/ Llanelli); Jarrod Evans (Blues/ Pontypridd), Tomos Williams (Blues/ Pontypridd); Luke Garrett (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Ryan Elias (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Dillon Lewis (Blues/ Pontypridd), Adam Beard (Ospreys/ Aberavon), Rory Thornton (captain, Ospreys/ Bridgend), Seb Davies (Blues/ Pontypridd), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons/ Newport), Tom Phillips (Scarlets/ Llanelli)
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), Daniel Jones (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Joe Thomas (Ospreys/ Swansea)