Scarlets flanker Jac Morgan will captain the Wales U20s side to face Italy in the opening round of the Six Nations at Colwyn Bay's Zipworld Stadium on Friday evening (Kick-off 7.35pm, live on S4C)
Morgan, who made his senior regional debut this season, is one of five Scarlets in the starting XV with centre Osian Knott, prop Callum Williams, hooker Dom Booth and second row Jac Price also included.
Morgan and Price are among six players who were involved with the U20s last season.
A settled halfback pairing of Dafydd Buckland and Sam Costelow alongside centre Aneurin Owen gives Wales U20 head coach Gareth Williams plenty of experience behind the scrum, while Dragons hooker Will Griffiths is named as a substitute – a position Wales utilised to great effect last season.
“The returning boys gives us a good nucleus to work from and provides us a good spine throughout the side,” said Williams. “It’s good to have that sort of experience going into a campaign and I know those players are ready to take on the mantle of being a senior player in what I think is an exciting squad.
“It’s great to have a group of returning players, while also blooding new players as we build towards the Junior World Cup later in the year.
“As I’ve said before, last year was my first year as head coach of this age group and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing England and Ireland at Zipworld Stadium in front of a passionate crowd in Colwyn Bay.
“We can’t wait to kick off our Six Nations campaign, and are excited to get back up to North Wales where our home support has been outstanding over the years. We really enjoy playing in Colwyn Bay.
“We’ve had a good period of player identification and skill development. But it’s always good to have a competitive element to our development programme.
“Italy will be a stern challenge, and we know we are going to face a difficult night. Italy played some good rugby in last year’s World Cup, and their U18s were outstanding against our boys in their win in Gloucester last season. So our preparation and performance needs to be of a high standard.”
Wales U20 v Italy U20, Zipworld Stadium, Fri Jan 31, KO 7.35pm (Live on S4C)
15 Josh Thomas (Ospreys)
14 Dan 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 Callum Williams (Scarlets)
2 Dom Booth (Scarlets)
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 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues), 18 Archie Griffin (Bath Rugby), 19 James Fender (Ospreys), 20 Travis Huntley (Ospreys), 21 Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Met), 22 Luke Scully (Worcester), 23 Bradley Roderick.(Ospreys)