Five young Ospreys named in Strange’s team to face the New Zealand
Wales U20 have made four changes to their side for their second match against New Zealand within a week. Jason Strange's young side fell 17-18 to New Zealand at AJ Bell Stadium on Wednesday and now face the same opposition at Manchester City Academy Stadium tomorrow (Monday) in the fifth place semi-final (15.15 live on S4C). The winner will play either Australia or Scotland in the fifth place final while the losers will play for seventh place.
Liam Belcher and Josh Macleod start at hooker and openside flanker, while Joe Gage starts at full back and Billy McBryde at inside centre after injuries to Rhun Williams and Harri Millard.
Jason Strange said, "With the short turnaround between matches in this tournament, we felt Liam and Josh would freshen things up and give us some added energy up front. While it's always disappointing to lose players through injury, especially with a small squad, we're confident in the whole squad and I'm sure Joe and Billy will step up to the mark tomorrow as they have in training."
Strange believes playing New Zealand twice within a week is just the sort of challenge the players need. "These are the high intensity matches the players require to accelerate their development and we're really pleased with their progress so far. The players were excellent on Wednesday. Despite the loss, you couldn't fault their collective effort and level of performance. The match was decided on a few critical decisions and hopefully we have learned from those high pressure situations.
"The players have had a lot of success this season, however it's also important to go through this process of losing and learning from your mistakes.
"It will be interesting to see how both teams approach the game tactically after last Wednesday's match, we will attempt to continue playing the game with skill and passion."
Wales U20 v New Zealand (Monday 20 June, 15.15 Manchester City Academy Stadium):
Joe Gage (Ospreys); Tom Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jared Rosser (Newport Gwent Dragons); Dan Jones (Scarlets), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys); Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues), Liam Belcher (Cardiff Blues), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Josh Macleod (Scarlets) Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Replacements: Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Newport Gwent Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Declan Smith (Scarlets) Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys)