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Five Cardiff players named in Wales U20s squad to face Italy

International | 13th March 2024

Wales head coach Richard Whiffin has named five Cardiff players in his matchday 23 to face Italy at Cardiff Arms Park, for the final round match in the 2024 Under 20 men’s Six Nations championship (KO 7.30pm, S4C).

Lucas de la Rua, Harri Wilde, Elijah Evans and Matty Young are in the starting XV, with Kodi Stone on the bench.

There are four changes in the backs plus two positional changes. Huw Anderson moves from full-back to wing to accommodate Young in the number 15 jersey and Macs Page moves from outside centre to inside centre with Evans starting in the number 13 jersey. Rhodri Lewis gets his first start of the campaign at scrum half with Ieuan Davies dropping down to the bench.

In the pack Evan Wood gets a first start at hooker in place of Harry Thomas while Jonny Green returns to the second row at the expense of Osian Thomas who drops to the bench.

Harry Beddall will captain the side from openside flanker after injury to Harri Ackerman has ended his championship prematurely.

“We’ve come to the end of the campaign, and we’ve got quite a few boys banged up,” said Whiffin. “This game is also an opportunity to see some other players under a pressure situation. It’s a chance for those selected to put their hands up for selection in the World Cup later this year.”

Whiffin has been left frustrated from a campaign which has seen his side show glimpses of their true potential.

“We’ve shown elements of strong attack, strong defence and strong set piece and decent collision throughout the tournament but only sporadically and not simultaneously so that has been the message this week to the boys. We have shown good aspects to our game, but we have to be able to deliver all those elements together consistently.”

Italy will be boosted after thumping Scotland last week and Whiffin is aware of the challenge that his young side face as they look to claim their second scalp of the campaign.

“They are a big team with a strong pack of forwards which gives them an in into the game around their set-piece,” he said.

“We expect them to come full of confidence after their result last weekend but from our end there are opportunities we have targeted. We need to try and put all the pieces together this week and put a proper performance on the field.”

Wales U20s v Italy U20s – Cardiff Arms Park, Friday 15 March, KO 7.30pm (S4C)
15 *Matty Young (Cardiff Rugby)
14 Huw Anderson (Dragons)
13 *Elijah Evans (Cardiff Rugby)
12 Macs Page (Scarlets)
11 Aidan Boschoff (Bristol Bears)
10 Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby)
9 Rhodri Lewis (Ospreys)
1 Josh Morse (Scarlets)
2 Evan Wood (Cardiff Met)
3 Kian Hire (Ospreys)
4 Jonny Green (Harlequins)
5 Nick Thomas (Dragons)
6 Lucas de la Rua (Cardiff Rugby)
7 Harry Beddall (Leicester – Capt)
8 Morgan Morse (Ospreys)

16 Harry Thomas (Scarlets)
17 Jordan Morris (Dragons)
18 Sam Scott (Midlands Central)
19 *Gethyn Cannon (Cardiff Met)
20 Osian Thomas (Leicester Tigers)
21 Ieuan Davies (Bath Rugby
22 Elis Price (Scarlets)
23 *Kodi Stone (Cardiff Rugby)