Wales have named their side to face England in their U20 Six Nations Round 4 encounter at Kingsholm on Friday night.
The 7.45pm kick off, shown live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix, is one of just two games going ahead as Ireland v Italy has been postponed due to the coronavirus, Scotland v France is the other game to go ahead.
Wales lost out to Italy in their opener and then to Ireland, who are bidding for a second Grand Slam in a row, before a tense 14-11 victory at home to France last time out. Head Coach Gareth Williams has therefore kept things as close as possible to that winning side, making just one change to that team as Dragons’ Will Griffiths comes in at hooker with Scarlets’ Dom Booth moving to the bench.
Otherwise it is as you were in the starting fifteen. Leicester Tigers fly half Sam Costelow starts again and the former Oakham star will be up against his Tigers teammate Freddie Steward, who is at full back for England, while his club half back partner, Jack van Poortvliet, is on the England bench.
Joining Costelow in the Welsh half back division is Cardiff Met University’s Ellis Bevan, the former Bryanston star. Outside of them in the centres are Aneurin Owen and Bradley Roderick, while in the back three Mason Grady and Frankie Jones are on the wings, Jacob Beetham starts at full back.
Once again Wales are skippered by openside Jac Morgan, who again lines up with Ioan Davies and Morgan Strong in the back row, with James Fender and Ben Carter in the second row. Either side of Griffths in the front row are Ben Warren and Eastbourne College schoolboy Theo Bevacqua, who will be familiar with Hugh Tizard, George Hammond, and Sam Riley in the England 23 followed his time in the Harlequins academy.
Williams has made three changes to his bench, Harri O’Connor and Ed Scragg replacing Archie Griffin and Rhys Thomas in the forwards, while Worcester Warriors’ Luke Scully returns in the back replacements for Josh Thomas after illness. Alongside throse three, and Booth, are Callum Winters, Dafydd Buckland, Joe Hawkins, and former Hampton School back row star, Gwilyn Bradley.
Speaking to www.wru.wales ahead of the game, Gareth Williams said:
“I thought the boys controlled the game against France really well, lessons were learned after we didn’t do that very well in the first half against Ireland so that was a pleasing element to see. We spoke about exerting pressure onto France as opposed to absorbing it all like we did against Ireland and for stages of the Italy game.”
“We were proud of the effort the boys put in against France and the win gives the boys a lot of confidence. They have built well throughout the campaign and improved as the campaign has gone on – I thought we put in a good performance in what were demanding conditions against France.
“We’ve had some pretty special results over the past 12 months but consistency is key for these young players going into professional rugby. We know the challenge that awaits with the strength and depth England have. They’ve had two excellent wins early in the Six Nations and they’ll probably be disappointed with their last result so they will be looking to bounce back so we have to go there and stand up to that and deal with their individual and collective threats.”
“England have a great pedigree at this level but to go and play in front of the Shed in Gloucester will be a great occasion and something the boys are really excited about.”
Wales U20 XV v England – Kingsholm, Friday, 7.45pm (Live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix)
15 Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Blues), 14 Frankie Jones (Aberavon), 13 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys), 12 Aneurin Owen (Dragons), 11 Mason Grady (Cardiff Blues), 10 Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), 9 Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Met), 1 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues), 2 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), 4 James Fender (Ospreys), 5 Ben Carter (Dragons), 6 Ioan Davies (Cardiff Blues), 7 Jac Morgan (Scarlets, captain), 8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys).
Replacements: 16 Dom Booth (Scarlets), 17 Callum Williams (Scarlets), 18 Harri O’Connor (Scarlets), 19 Ed Scragg (Dragons), 20 Gwilym Bradley (Cardiff Blues), 21 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons), 22 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), 23 Luke Scully (Worcester Warriors).
France 24-29 England
Ireland 38-26 Scotland
Wales 7-17 Italy
France 31-19 Italy
Ireland 36-22 Wales
Scotland 17-21 England
England 21-39 Ireland
Italy 29-30 Scotland
Wales 14-11 France