Wales have named their side for their final game of the 2019 U18 International Series.
Having lost out to South Africa Schools in their opener and then earned a thrilling 31-31 draw against South Africa Schools A on Tuesday, Saturday’s 12.30pm kick off against France, who lost to England on Tuesday, represents a chance for their first win of the tour.
Head Coach Chris Horsman has rung the changes from that draw on Tuesday, but second row Ben Carter retains the captaincy and Millfield star Dan John makes it three starts from three, moving this time from the wing back to full back, where he started the opener.
Fellow Exile Tom Mathews of Hartpury College moves from the centres to fly half, while John’s Millfield teammate Oliver Burrows returns at hooker, with Marlborough College’s Archie Griffin coming in at tighthead.
Fellow Exile Peter Vickers of Newcastle-Under-Lyme is at number 8, while there are two further Exiles on the bench in Eastbourne College’s Theo Bevacqua and Exeter Chiefs’ Christ Tshiunza.
Speaking to www.wru.wales ahead of the game, Chris Horsman said:
“I was really pleased with the performance [on Tuesday] and there were elements within the game that showed clear improvements from the opening game. The boys are getting better with every performance.”
“We made a raft of changes to the team from the first game, so by the time we leave every player will have had match-time. The great thing for me, is that in the two games so far the boys have made 20 line breaks which is incredible while our defence was absolutely resolute in the last game.
“After we picked up the red card the boys really stepped up, especially in the dying stages when they were going for the win. The defence wasn’t reckless, but well drilled and organised.”
“We’ve already beaten them [France] at the Arms Park earlier this year. It’s clear from all the games being played out here that we are the only team endeavouring to play most of the rugby. If we focus on nailing the opportunities that come our way, then hopefully the boys can finish with a ‘w’.”
Wales U18 XV:
15 Dan John (Exiles/Millfield), 14 Jake Thomas (Cardiff Blues/Cowbridge HS), 13 Mason Grady (Cardiff Blues/Glantaf/Bro Morgannwg), 12 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College), 11 Morgan Richards (Dragons/Newport High School), 10 Tom Mathews (Northampton Saints/Exiles/Hartpury College), 9 Luke Davies (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar), 1 Kieran Stevens (Ospreys/Bridgend College), 2 Oliver Burrows (Ospreys/Millfield), 3 Archie Griffin (Bath/Exiles/Marlborough College), 4 James Fender (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College), 5 Ben Carter (Dragons/Caldicot, captain), 6 Travis Huntley (Ospreys/Bridgend College), 7 Alex Mann (Cardiff Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd), 8 Peter Vickers (Wasps/Exiles/Newcastle-Under-Lyme).
Replacements: 16 Rhodri King (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Harlequins/Exiles/Eastbourne College), 18 Lewys Jones (Ospreys/Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera), 19 Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs/Exiles/Whitchurch HS), 20 Rhys Thomas (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College), 21 Ollie Howard (Dragons/Tredegar), 22 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College), 23 Jake Morgan (Dragons/Lewis Pengam), 24 Carrick McDonough (Dragons/Cross Keys College), 25 Ben Burnell (Cardiff Blues/Gartholwg).
U18 International Series Fixtures/Results (all times BST):
Matchday 1 – Friday 9th August, Paul Roos Gymnasium
South Africa Schools A 19-43 France
England 19-29 Argentina
South Africa Schools 23-13 Wales
Matchday 2 – Tuesday 13th August, Paarl Gymnasium
South Africa Schools A 31-31 Wales
South Africa Schools 28-14 Argentina
England 29-25 France
Matchday 3 – Saturday 17th August, Hugenote High, Wellington
11am – South Africa Schools A v Argentina
12.30pm – France v Wales
2pm – South Africa Schools v England