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Scragg and Buckland in to face champs

07/06/2019

Wales head coach Gareth Williams has made six changes, including one positional, for tomorrow’s second round pool match against defending champions France in the U20 World Rugby Championship in Rosario. (KO 1pm - UK) - handing call-ups to Dragons duo Ed Scragg and Dafydd Buckland.

Scarlets flanker Iestyn Rees, who impressed when replacing Lennon Greggains against Argentina in the opening game, earns a starting berth in the back row while Dragons’ Scragg replaces Morgan Jones in the second row.

With Aneurin Owen suffering a head injury against Argentina, Max Llewellyn starts at outside centre with Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler switching to inside centre while scrum half Harri Morgan will start from the bench due to illness and is replaced by Dafydd Buckland. Scarlets winger Tomi Lewis replaces Rio Dyer who moves down to the bench.

"We’ve been impressed with Iestyn," said Williams, "He was training really well and the hour he had against Argentina I thought he was excellent and I was really pleased with his performance so he has earned his spot.

"The changes help us to keep boys fresh in what is a tough schedule of games. Ed Scragg has been putting his hand up in training and we’re very fortunate with the pool of second rows that we have got, that it allows us that freshness."

Owen took a heavy hit in the opening minutes against Argentina but Williams is delighted to see the young Dragon make good progress in his recovery.

"He is an excellent young player," said Williams. "First and foremost he has recovered quickly and going through the protocols now with his head injury but he has also been in a position where he has been able to complete his A-level exams and that is more important than us losing him to be fair."

"He is going to go through the protocols and will be available at a later stage of the tournament. We’re just really pleased it wasn’t too serious and he has been able to complete his exams."

Williams was pleased to see his side edge Argentina in the opening game of the tournament but is fully aware France pose a major threat.

"Argentina were an excellent team and I know how good they are having lost to them last year in the World Cup. But the extra factor of playing them on home soil added another edge to it – they came out hard and I thought it was an excellent Test match.

"Over the last 12 months France have been flagbearers from an U20 point of view. They were champions last year and they probably weren’t as successful in the Six Nations as they hoped for but everyone was targeting them.

"But we know the quality they have got, they have a tough physical pack but they can also move the ball and have threats right across the park. We were really happy with the first 50 minutes against them out in Vannes in the Six Nations – we now want to keep the momentum going.

"We’ve got a lot of confidence from that first game against Argentina but we are realistic of the challenge ahead and there are no easy games in this competition and it certainly doesn’t get any easier at this stage."

U20 World Rugby Championship

Wales U20 v France U20

Racecourse Stadium, Rosario, 8 June, KO 1pm (Live on S4C)

15 Ioan Dyer (Cardiff Blues)

14 Tomi Lewis (Scarlets)

13 Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Blues)

12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler (Ospreys)

11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)

10 Cai Evans (Ospreys)

9 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons)

1 Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets)

2 Dewi Lake (Capt – Ospreys)

3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues)

4 Ed Scragg (Dragons)

5 Jac Price (Scarlets)

6 Iestyn Rees (Scarlets)

7 Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers)

8 Jac Morgan (Aberavon/Scarlets)

Subs: Will Griffiths (Dragons), Garin Lloyd (Ospreys), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Tom Devine (Dragons), Nick English (Bristol Bears), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Lennon Greggains (Dragons), Harri Morgan (Ospreys) Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), Deon Smith (Dragons), Rio Dyer (Dragons)

We’ve got a lot of confidence from that first game against Argentina but we are realistic of the challenge ahead... it certainly doesn’t get any easier at this stage...
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