Wales announce squad to face England

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Wales coach Byron Hayward has made several changes for his side’s Six Nations Under-20 match with England U20 this Friday in Doncaster.

Wales coach Byron Hayward has made several changes for his side’s Six Nations Under-20 match with England U20 this Friday in Doncaster.

Wales got back to winning ways a fortnight ago, defeating Scotland 26-13 in Colwyn Bay, after suffering a heavy 53-5 defeat to Ireland in Round 1.

They sit just a point behind England in the table, as the Red Rose were defeated 6-0 by Italy after their opening round victory over Scotland in Edinburgh.


Hayward has rung the changes throughout the pack, with Morgan Veness making his first start at hooker, in place of the injured Efan Daniel while another casualty Ryan Woodman is replaced by fellow Dragons second row Joe Peard.

In the backs there are two further changes, with Iestyn Hopkins making his debut at full-back, which sees Cameron Winnett moving to wing and Morgan Lloyd making his first start at scrum-half, with Archie Hughes dropping to the bench.

Despite that defeat to Italy, Hayward is aware of how strong England are.

He said: “They’ll be feeling like what we were after the Ireland game. You’re going back home coming off the back of a defeat and you certainly want to put the score right and redress the balance.

“They are going to be physical and up for it but we hope we have picked a team prepared for that physical battle and stay in the fight and I think if we are in the game in the last 20 minutes anything could happen.”

While Daniel and Woodman’s absence is a blow for Wales, after they both impressed against Scotland, Hayward believes it is a chance for others to step up.

He said: “They are two boys with massive futures at different scales in terms of age, Efan is going to be a top-class professional player and I’d say a full international no doubt.

“Ryan’s first game at U20 level as a 17-year-old – he had an exceptional debut so to lose both is a blow.

“Joe [Peard] was very unhappy with his performance in the game against Ireland so the opportunity comes for him to redeem himself while the two nines will both be playing but maybe with different roles this time.

“With more experience in terms of age, Morgan [Lloyd] was a real calming influence when he came on against Scotland with three try assists.


“His decision making was very good, he was calm, and his game management was really good, so he gets a first start.“The coaches agreed unanimously Iestyn [Hopkins] deserved a start. He has earned the jersey as he has been such a positive influence in training.

“He has trained exceptionally well and gone away and played for Swansea in the Premiership and even dropped down to Dunvant last week to get game time. He has earned the jersey purely by his attitude.”

Wales U20s side to face England U20s, Castle Park, Friday 25 Feb, KO 7pm: 15 Iestyn Hopkins (Ospreys), 14 Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby), 13 Eddie James (Scarlets), 12 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), 11 Harri Houston (Ospreys), 10 Jac Lloyd (Bristol Bears), 9 Morgan Lloyd (Dragons); 1 Rhys Barrett (Cardiff Met), 2 Morgan Veness (Ealing Trailfinders), 3 Adam Williams (Dragons), 4 Benji Williams (Ospreys), 5 Joe Peard (Dragons), 6 Tom Cowan (Bath Rugby), 7 Ethan Frackrell (Cardiff Rugby)8 Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – Capt)

Replacements: 16 Connor Chapman (Dragons), 17 Joe Cowell (Cardiff Met), 18 Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby), 19 Lewis Jones (Ospreys), 20 Morgan Morse (Ospreys), 21 Archie Hughes (Scarlets), 22 Dan Edwards (Ospreys), 23 Joe Westwood (Dragons)