Seven Cardiff Blues have been named in the Wales U20s side to face Italy in the U20s Six Nations on Friday night (7.15pm).
Rhys Carre returns to the starting line-up and he is joined by Owen Lloyd, James Botham and Ben Jones.
Alun Lawrence could make his Wales U20s debut from the bench, where there is also a place for centre Max Llewellyn.
Head coach Jason Strange has called upon several regional regulars, including captain Will Jones for the Colwyn Bay clash and he knows the Azzurri will present a formidable challenge.
“It’s been a boost to the side to have the experience of someone like Will Jones back, having captained the U20s very well last year,” said head coach Strange. “He and Reuben have acquitted themselves very well at senior level with Ospreys this season, and they’re proof of how valuable the U20 pathway is.
“The fact that a lot of these boys have been playing regional rugby lately is beneficial on a number of levels: to themselves, but also for the team as a whole and the experience they bring back into the U20s environment.
“The players have been working extremely hard as a group over the past few weeks, and we’ve exposed 32 different players to international rugby at U20 level, which is incredibly positive. Our ability to rotate the squad is reflected in our selection for Italy.”
On the challenged posed by Italy, Strange said: “We played them twice last year, and both games were very tough. In fact, we only beat them by a point in the U20 Championships in the summer – in a tournament where they beat Ireland – so we need to carry the good form we showed in Dublin a fortnight ago into Friday night’s game in Colwyn Bay.”
Wales U20 team to face Italy:
15 Cai Evans (Ospreys) 14 Joe Goodchild (Dragons) 13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets) 12 Callum Carson (Ospreys) 11 Tommy Rogers (Scarlets) 10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues) 9 Harri Morgan (Ospreys) 1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues) 2 Dewi Lake (Ospreys) 3 Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets) 4 Owen Lloyd (Cardiff Blues) 5 Max Williams (Dragons) 6 James Botham (Cardiff Blues) 7 Will Jones (c) (Ospreys) 8 Taine Basham (Dragons)
Replacements: 16 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues) 17 Jordan Walters* (Ospreys) 18 Rhys Henry (Ospreys) 19 Alun Lawrence* (Cardiff Blues) 20 Lennon Greggains* (Dragons) 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys) 22 Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Blues) 23 Rio Dyer (Dragons)