Wales head coach Richard Whiffin has named two Cardiff rugby players in his matchday 23 to face England at the Recreation Ground for the second round of the 2024 Under 20 Men’s Six Nations Championship on Friday. (KO 7.15pm, S4C)
Fly-half Harri Wilde starts at 10, while Lucas de la Rua has again been named in the back row.
There are three changes to the starting line-up - all in the pack – plus two positional switches for the encounter in Bath.
Freddie Chapman replaces Jordan Morris at loose-head prop while RGC’s tighthead prop Patrick Nelson will make his debut on the other side of the scrum. Leicester Tigers’ Harry Beddall is elevated from the bench to get the nod at openside flanker.
Lucas de la Rua moves from openside to blindside flanker to allow Beddall his starting berth while Osian Thomas moves from the back row to second row to pack down alongside Jonny Green.
“These are the times you live for - 14,500 at the Rec, a great stadium, England v Wales, the boys will get a lot out of the experience, and these are the things we want our younger players to experience,” said Whiffin.
“The boys that played against Scotland did a great job. We saw this as an opportunity to bring some new guys in for the England game – they have an opportunity to match the muscle in set piece and also provide a bit of difference around the field.”
England powered their way to an opening 36-11 victory against Italy in round one while Wales overcame Scotland with a 37-29 triumph in North Wales where the backs scored five of the six tries scored with some clinical finishing.
The back three of Huw Anderson, Walker Price and Harry Rees-Weldon gelled particularly well and posed a threat every time they had the ball.
“They worked well as a unit – they are three boys from the Dragons region, and they’ve played with each for a while and I thought individually they were great but more as a group they connected well on counter attack and caused the Scottish some problems,” said Whiffin.
“We’ve actually got a very quick backline and we possess a triple threat team. We’ve got a run kick pass team that can challenge the opposition especially in counter attacking so it’s an opportunity for us to get stuck into them and we’re looking forward to that.
With England boasting a physical pack, Whiffin isn’t daunted by the challenge ahead.
“We’ve got big and physical guys as well, we’ve got guys playing week in week out playing regional rugby and we’re ready to take them on and go toe to toe with them but as we saw in the Scotland game we’ve got the skill to play as well. We’re a team that wants to challenge them in the front door but go around them as well.”
Wales U20s v England U20s – The Recreation Ground, Friday 9 February, KO 7.15pm
15 Huw Anderson (Dragons)
14 Harry Rees-Weldon (Dragons RFC)
13 Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby)
12 Harri Ackerman (Dragons RFC – Capt)
11 Walker Price (Dragons RFC)
10 Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby)
9 Ieuan Davies (Bath Rugby);
1 Freddie Chapman (Ospreys)
2 Harry Thomas (Scarlets)
3 Patrick Nelson (RGC)*
4 Jonny Green (Harlequins)
5 Osian Thomas (Leicester Tigers)
6 Lucas de la Rua (Cardiff Rugby)
7 Harry Beddall (Leicester Tigers)
8 Morgan Morse (Ospreys)
16 Evan Wood (Cardiff Met)
17 Jordan Morris (Dragons)
18 Sam Scott (Midlands Central)
19 Nick Thomas (Dragons)
20 Owen Conquer (Ebbw Vale)
21 Rhodri Lewis (Ospreys)
22 Harri Ford (RGC)
23 Macs Page (Scarlets)