Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Young Dragons ready for pool decider

Wales Under-20s have again made changes to their side ahead of their crunch Junior World Championships Pool C decider against Argentina tomorrow.

With two wins from two, against Samoa on June 5 and Scotland on June 9, they come up against an Argentina side also with two wins from two in a straight shoot-out to decide who automatically goes through to the semi-finals for the second successive year.

There are seven personnel changes and two positional. Dragons full back Hallam Amos returns to the starting line-up along with his regional team mate Jack Dixon and Pontypridd wing Owen Jenkins.

In the front row, Gareth Thomas starts at loosehead with Ethan Lewis in at hooker. Carwyn Jones returns to partner Rhodri Hughes at lock, while Dragons No8 Ieuan Jones returns with Sion Bennett and captain Ellis Jenkins switching to the blind and openside flanks respectively.

Head coach Danny Wilson said of the changes: “Selection is getting more difficult with each game, which is a good thing.

“There are some players who are unlucky to miss out on a starting place but this team is the one we think is best suited to this opposition. We will certainly be counting on the efforts of the whole squad tomorrow from 1 to 23.

“Argentina are an excellent team this year. They are very powerful and have a deadly weapon in their outside half who will penalise the slightest error. It’s going to take one of our best performances of the whole season to come away with a win but we’re confident we can do that if we play well.”

After their 42-3 trouncing of Samoa in game one, Wales picked up a five-point, 26-21 triumph over Scotland on matchday two, which was a much closer affair.

In the end, tries from Aaron Warren and Scarlets’ Steffan Hughes, both converted by Ospreys and Swansea prospect Sam Davies, who added three penalties and a drop goal, were enough to see off Wales’ Celtic cousins.

Argentina thumped Scotland 44-13 on June 5 and beat Samoa 28-16 on June 9 to set this final game up nicely.

After both made it to the semis in South Africa last year, Wales were defeated by New Zealand having become the first ever nation to beat the Baby Blacks in the pool stages, while Argentina lost to the hosts and eventual champions in the final four. Wales then beat Argentina 25-17 in the third placed play-off.

Wales team to face Argentina: Hallam Amos (Dragons/Newport); Owen Jenkins (Blues/Pontypridd), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets/Llanelli), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Ashley Evans (Ospreys/Bridgend); Sam Davies (Ospreys/Swansea), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets/Llandovery); Gareth Thomas (Scarlets/Carmarthen Quins), Ethan Lewis (Blues/Cardiff), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys/Swansea), Carwyn Jones (Scarlets/Carmarthen), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys/Swansea), Sion Bennett (Scarlets/Carmarthen), Ellis Jenkins (captain, Blues/Cardiff), Ieuan Jones (Dragons/Newport).

Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons/Bedwas), Thomas Davies (Blues/Cardiff), Dan Suter (Ospreys/Bridgend), Jack Jones (Ospreys/Rovigo), James Benjamin (Dragons/Bedwas), Joshua Davies (Dragons/Bedwas), Jordan Williams (Scarlets/Llanelli), Harri Evans (North Wales/RGC).


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