DRAGONS duo Carrick McDonough and Joe Peard will make their Wales Under-20s debuts in the Six Nations opener against Italy tomorrow.

Wing McDonough and lock Peard have been named in the XV for the final part of the triple-header at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 8pm).

Dragons teammates Will Reed and Morgan Richards, fly-half and full-back respectively, are on the extended 10-man bench for the clash with the Italians, which follows Scotland versus Ireland and England against France in the tournament that will be played entirely in the capital.

Scarlets playmaker Sam Costelow will be expected to put his senior rugby experience to use while Cardiff's Alex Mann captains the team from the back row.

Wales haven't played for almost 15 months and the progress of young talent has been hit by the absence of Celtic Cup and Premiership rugby.

"It's great to see these guys finally getting an opportunity to perform," said head coach Ioan Cunningham.

"Because the guys haven't played for such a long time, there will be some errors, there will be mistakes, we accept that but as long as we perform and leave everything out on the field that's the biggest thing for me and I'm sure the rest will take care of itself."

"It's a team mixed with experience alongside some guys who are getting an opportunity for the very first time which I think is great," he continued.

"There was a lot of debate over some positions and credit to the boys, they have given us that headache of selection which is what we want, especially in key positions and one thing we have always stuck to from day one is team first and we all buy into it."

Wales were beaten 17-7 by Italy in last year's tournament opener in Colwyn Bay and Cunningham, who stepped up to head coach after Gareth Williams landed a full-time job with the senior squad, expects a tough contest.

"Italy are a very strong side, well coached," he said. "They have a good set piece, strong forward pack, good scrum, good lineout so they have got the foundations to build a strong game, individually they also have got some excellent players as well.

"We have to be at our best to give ourselves a shout. If you give them time and space they are dangerous."

Wales face Ireland next weekend then France and England before their finale against Scotland.

Wales U20: Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Rugby); Dan John (Exeter Chiefs), Ioan Evans (Pontypridd), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), Carrick McDonough (Dragons); Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Harri Williams (Scarlets); Garyn Phillips (Ospreys), Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby), Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby), Joe Peard (Dragons), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – captain), Harri Deaves (Ospreys), Carwyn Tuipulotu (Scarlets).

Replacements: Oliver Burrows (Exeter Chiefs), Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Rugby), Lewys Jones (Nevers), James Fender (Ospreys), Tristan Davies (Ospreys), Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby), Will Reed (Dragons), Tom Florence (Ospreys), Morgan Richards (Dragons/Pontypridd), Eddie James (Scarlets), Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby).