Young guns look to seal semi-final berth
WALES Under-20s take on Samoa this afternoon looking to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Junior World Championship – and potentially a rematch with New Zealand.
Danny Wilson’s young guns shocked the world of rugby when they inflicted a first defeat on the Baby Blacks at under-20s level.
The head coach has understandably kept changes to a minimum for today’s Cape Town clash after that hard-earned 9-6 win.
Newport Gwent Dragons centre Jack Dixon, the youngest player to feature in a Junior World Championship at 17, is left out against the Samoans following a monumental defensive effort against New Zealand.
He is on the bench with Cardiff Blues’ Thomas Pascoe starting in midfield while Scarlets openside Daniel Thomas comes in to the back row for Ellis Jenkins.
Wilson said: “The players have certainly gained in confidence having beaten New Zealand, and the win gave us a good platform to build from.
“However, Samoa are a dangerous side and we’re certainly not taking them lightly.
“After the rain last week, we’ve switched grounds and the conditions are now hot and dry which will suit Samoa well.
“They will be a big, physical challenge with dangerous runners but we have to play to our strengths again and stick to our game plan.
“We have a strong pack of forwards but we also want to play rugby – when the time is right.
“We are in a good position now with two wins under our belt but we will have achieved nothing if we don’t beat Samoa and go through to the semis.”
If Wales win with a bonus point then they could well head into the last four as the top seed, meaning they face the best runner-up from the three pools.
That ‘reward’ could well be another encounter with New Zealand at Newlands given that they should run in the tries against Fiji in their final game.
England could still secure the top seeding but face a tough encounter against hosts South Africa this evening.
Wales Under-20s: R Jones (Ospreys); T Prydie (Dragons), C Allen (Blues), T Pascoe (Blues), E Walker (Ospreys); M Morgan (Ospreys), T Habberfield (Ospreys); R Evans (Scarlets), K Myhill (captain, Scarlets), S Lee (Scarlets), R Hughes (Ospreys), M Screech (Blues), L Hamilton (Blues), D Thomas (Scarlets), D Baker (Ospreys) Replacements: D Harris (Blues), G Thomas (Carmarthen Quins), W John (Blues), I Jones (Drgaons), E Jenkins (Blues), J Evans (Dragons), S Davies (Ospreys), J Dixon (Dragons)