Ospreys youngster Joe Thomas has been named on the wing for Wales U20 as they pursue a Grand Slam tomorrow night, the only change to the starting XV from the 42-16 win over England last Friday.
- Joe Thomas starts on the wing along with fellow Ospreys, Owen Watkin, Keelan Giles, Reuben Morgan-Williams and Adam Beard
- Joe Gage named on the bench
- Victory in North Wales will give Wales the Championship and Grand Slam
Thomas’ inclusion takes the number of Eyasses starting to five alongside Owen Watkin, Keelan Giles, Reuben Morgan-Williams and Adam Beard, while a sixth, Joe Gage, comes onto the bench.
Wales will clinch a first U20 Championship title and Grand Slam if they win on Friday, but Wales Under 20 head coach Jason Strange is determined his players and coaches will not look any further than the task in hand.
He said:“We’ve rewarded the players for their outstanding performance last week. Joe Thomas has featured on the centre and wing during the campaign so he is comfortable there.
“It is a fantastic achievement to win the Triple Crown, it was a good performance but we can still make improvements, which will be our main objective on Friday.
“The players got a taste of what it feels like to produce a really memorable performance last week, and they want to enjoy that again by finishing on a high this weekend.
“We’ve addressed the dangers of getting ahead of ourselves and if our mindset is not right. We must stay focussed on our own expectations and on meeting our high standards.
“Playing in big occasions like this one is a key part of the players’ development, we want them to continue playing with skill and ambition.
“The effort and unity they’ve shown has been our strength so far and our collective team spirit will be vital on Friday.
“We are certainly not going to underestimate Italy. They were unfortunate not to beat Ireland last weekend. They will bring a strong physical challenge and have an effective driving line-out and set-piece. However, we must concentrate on our own game and producing a performance and result that rewards the players, but also everyone who has supported them, along with the supporters and staff at Eirias who have once again been tremendous. It would be a fantastic boost to play in front of a sell-out crowd on Friday.”
Wales team v Italy (Friday 18 March, 7.05pm, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay)
Rhun Williams (RGC); Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Cardiff Blues), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Keelan Giles (Ospreys); Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys); Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Replacements: Ifan Phillips (Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Newport Gwent Dragons), Bryce Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Joe Gage (Ospreys)
There's still time to get hold of the limited remaining tickets for Friday night's potential Grand Slam game.
Venue Cymru: www.venuecymru.co.uk, over the counter at their Llandudno box office or by calling the box office on 01492 872000 until 12 noon on Friday.
Tickets can also be bought from Colwyn Leisure Centre to personal callers and over the phone on 01492 577900 until 3pm Friday and then from Eirias Ticket Office until kick-off. All collections on Friday will be from Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre until 3pm and then from Eirias Ticket Office. There is a £1 per ticket booking fee from all outlets
There is a £1 per ticket booking fee from all outlets.