Wales head coach Gareth Williams has made three changes to the starting line-up to face Ireland in the second round of the U20 Six Nations at Cork’s Irish Independent Park this Friday evening (KO 7.15pm).
Dragons hooker Will Griffiths is promoted to the starting team while Bristol Bear’s Ioan Lloyd gets his first taste of action with Wales U20 at full-back and loose-head prop Theo Bevacqua is named.
Griffiths, who is now in his third campaign at this age-group, earns his first start with his previous 12 caps having all come as a replacement.
He is joined by regional team-mates Aneurin Owen, Dafydd Buckland, Ewan Rosser and Ben Carter.
Defending champions Ireland sit top of the points table courtesy of a healthier points difference than England and will scent Welsh blood after an impressive 38-26 victory against Scotland.
Wales will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 7-17 defeat to Italy in the opening round in Colwyn Bay last Friday evening.
“Naturally we are disappointed with the result and elements of our performance against Italy, but this week is about dealing with that and moving forward,” said Williams.
“We still have four internationals left that act as great opportunities to move players forward in their development. Ireland will be a big challenge, and the atmosphere will be electric. These are the type of environments we want to expose our young players to.
“There are some areas we have worked hard to tighten up on this week, and challenged ourselves to execute better to keep Ireland under pressure which was something we didn’t do to Italy, although I thought Italy were excellent in their performance.
“We have a clear understanding of our responsibility for development, and defeats like last week can act as effective learning experiences. But we’re a competitive and proud group, and want to get back to success against opposition we have the utmost respect for.”
Wales U20 v Ireland U20, Irish Independent Park, Friday 7 February, KO 7.15pm (Live, BBC2 Wales):
15 Ioan Lloyd (Bristol Bears), 14 Daniel John (Millfield School), 13 Osian Knott (Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Dragons), 11 Ewan Rosser (Dragons), 10 Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons); 1 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues), 2 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), 4 Jac Price (Scarlets), 5 Ben Carter (Dragons), 6 Ioan Davies (Cardiff Blues), 7 Jac Morgan (Scarlets - CAPT), 8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys)
Replacements 16 Dom Booth (Scarlets), 17 Callum Williams (Scarlets), 18 Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby), 19 James Fender (Ospreys), 20 Gwilym Bradley (Cardiff Blues), 21 Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Met), 22 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys), 23 Josh Thomas (Ospreys)
We still have four internationals left that act as great opportunities to move players forward in their development... Ireland will be a big challenge, and the atmosphere will be electric.