Four Scarlets have been picked in Ioan Cunningham’s opening Wales U20s match-day squad for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Italy at Cardiff Arms Park (8pm).
Sam Costelow and Harri Williams will combine in an exciting half-back partnership, Carwyn Tuipulotu makes his U20s debut at No. 8, while the powerful Eddie James is named among the replacements.
Cardiff back-rower Alex Mann captains the side.
With Wales having not played at this level for nearly 15 months, head coach Cunningham is expecting a bit of ring rustiness as his side aim to reverse the defeat they suffered against Italy in North Wales last year.
“It’s great to see these guys finally getting an opportunity to perform,” explained Cunningham. “Because the guys haven’t played for such a long time, there will be some errors, there will be mistakes, we accept that but as long as we perform and leave everything out on the field that’s the biggest thing for me and I’m sure the rest will take care of itself.
“It’s a team mixed with experience alongside some guys who are getting an opportunity for the very first time which I think is great,” added Cunningham.
“There was a lot of debate over some positions and credit to the boys, they have given us that headache of selection which is what we want, especially in key positions and one thing we have always stuck to from day one is team first and we all buy into it.
“There have been some tough conversations with players but ultimately everyone is excited and keen to start the competition. We feel the XV and the bench that we have selected are ready to go.”
Wales U20s v Italy U20s, Cardiff Arms Park, Saturday 19 June, 8pm
15 Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Rugby); 14 Dan John (Exeter Chiefs), 13 Ioan Evans (Pontypridd), 12 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), 11 Carrick McDonough (Dragons); 10 Sam Costelow (Scarlets), 9 Harri Williams (Scarlets); 1 Garyn Phillips (Ospreys) 2 Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby), 3 Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby), 4 Joe Peard (Dragons), 5 Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), 6 Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – Capt), 7 Harri Deaves (Ospreys), 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu (Scarlets).
Reserves: 16 Oliver Burrows (Exeter Chiefs), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Rugby), 18 Lewys Jones (Nevers), 19 James Fender (Ospreys), 20 Tristan Davies (Ospreys), 21 Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby), 22 Will Reed (Dragons), 23 Tom Florence (Ospreys), 24 Morgan Richards (Dragons/Pontypridd). 25 Eddie James (Scarlets), 26 Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby).