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Evans returns to midfield as Cardiff quartet retain Wales under-20 starting spots

Pathway | 6th July 2021

A quartet of Cardiff academy stars have retained their starting spots as Wales under-20 face Grand Slam hopefuls England on Wednesday.

Ioan Cunningham haČ™ made a total of four changes to the starting line-up as Wales look to bounce back from consecutive defeats against Ireland and France.

Jacob Beetham continues at full back, having crossed for a brace against Les Bleus, while Ethan Lloyd dons the number nine jersey.

With Garyn Phillips ruled out of the clash with injury, Theo Bevacqua is once again named at loosehead with skipper Alex Mann playing his part in the back row.

Ioan Evans, who will link up with the Cardiff Arms Park outfit over the summer, returns to midfield as Scarlets playmaker Sam Costelow is reinstated at outside half.

Further changes sees a new lock partnership of Joe Peard and Rhys Thomas while former Cardiff age grade representative Christ Tshiunza joins Mann and Carwyn Tuipulotu in the back row.

Number eight Evan Lloyd returns to the matchday squad to join club team-mates Efan Daniel and Nathan Evans on the bench.

“Losing Dafydd is a big blow as he has been one of our best players and he has been very consistent but his absence gives an opportunity for other players to put their hands up which is great,” said Cunningham.

“You can feel a bit of an edge when it comes to these big games and the boys are really looking forward to putting a performance together on the park against England.”

Wales have are hoping to put consecutive defeats to Ireland and France behind them but Cunningham is fully aware of the challenge ahead for his young side.

“They are physical men, they were very physical against Ireland and Ireland are a physical team, they are very well coached and well organised,” he said.

“They possess a powerful driving lineout so again it will come down to discipline, we can’t give England penalties around the halfway mark as they will kick to the corner and it will be a hard afternoon defending the lineout otherwise – managing the middle third and halfway line is going to be key for us.”

Cunningham was encouraged with the final quarter against France where Wales raced over for two tries in the last 10 minutes but he is aware his players will have to tighten up their discipline which has proved costly so far in the championship.

“It has been a big issue for us,” conceded Cunningham, “and trying to get the players to learn quicky about decision making at breakdowns, those back to back penalties which then puts pressure on us – it’s those piggy-backs we are giving teams and it’s trying to get them to see the bigger picture and understand how we don’t have to do that, we don’t have to over chase things or over commit to breakdowns which will help us eventually get more control in our game.

“We gifted France 21 points, but we did show glimpses against France where we showed what we can do when we strung a few phases together. The boys have trained well all week and are ready to go.”

Wales U20 v England U20, Cardiff Arms Park, Wednesday 7th July, KO 8pm (Live S4C)
15 Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Rugby)
14 Daniel John (Exeter Chiefs)
13 Ioan Evans (Pontypridd)
12 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys)
11 Tom Florence (Ospreys)
10 Sam Costelow (Scarlets)
9 Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby);
1 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Rugby)
2 Oli Burrows (Exeter Chiefs)
3 Lewys Jones (Nevers)
4 Joe Peard (Dragons)
5 Rhys Thomas (Ospreys)
6 Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs)
7 Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – capt)
8 Carwyn Tuipulotu (Scarlets)


16 Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby)
17 Cameron Jones (Ospreys)
18 Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby)
19 James Fender (Ospreys)
20 Tristan Davies (Ospreys)
21 Harri Williams (Scarlets)
22 Will Reed (Dragons)
23 Carrick McDonough (Dragons)
24 Morgan Richards (Dragons/Pontypridd)
25 Eddie James (Scarlets)
26 Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby)