NEW Dragons recruit Owen Conquer will get a chance to shine in a much-changed Wales side for the World Rugby U20 Championship game against Spain on Thursday (kick-off 1pm).

The Welsh youngsters were edged out by New Zealand in their opener but did claim two potentially crucial bonuses in the 41-34 defeat in Cape Town.

With a pool stage finale to come against France, Richard Whiffin’s side have no margin for error but the head coach has rotated his squad.

There are four survivors from the XV that went up against the Baby Blacks with Ryan Woodman continuing to captain the side from blindside and his fellow Dragon Harry Rees-Weldon getting another start on the wing.

Lock Jonny Green and influential back rower Morgan Morse are also retained.

Number eight Conquer, who has signed a pro deal with the Dragons after catching the eye with Ebbw Vale in the Premiership, will carry hard after missing out on the 23 to face the Kiwis.

Dragons lock Nick Thomas earns a promotion from the bench along with fly-half Harri Ford, who is back with the Rodney Parade club after a spell up north with RGC.

Loosehead Jordan Morris will once again be charged with adding oomph from the bench while full-back Huw Anderson, who impressed against the Kiwis, is rested.

If Wales win with a bonus then they will give themselves a shot at the semi-finals, and in likelihood also avoid being in the ninth to 12th play-offs that carry the threat of relegation.

JOY: Wales celebrate Dragons full-back Huw Anderson's score against New Zealand at the World Rugby U20 Championship (Photo by Thinus Maritz/World Rugby)JOY: Wales celebrate Dragons full-back Huw Anderson's score against New Zealand at the World Rugby U20 Championship (Photo by Thinus Maritz/World Rugby) (Image: Photo by Thinus Maritz/World Rugby)

“We always felt we would finish the game strongly with the bench we had so we were pleased with that aspect of the game but we were disappointed New Zealand got three scores ahead of us, which included a couple of long range tries,” said Whiffin.

“They had a very good skillset which we struggled to deal with at times but it was a really courageous performance to come back into the game.

“I thought the changes we made in the second half saw a real impact on the pitch.

“We took two bonus points away from the game, one for a four-try bonus and one for losing within seven points, so it keeps us alive in the pool to qualify for the top round of the semis, so that is a big focus for us going forward.

“We saw Spain put up a really dogged performance against France – it took France a long time to put them away.

“They have got massive energy and they will cause us problems but we came into the tournament confident that we would challenge in every single game so we obviously now turn our attentions to Spain who are next up.

“It was always part of the plan to give as may players as possible a start in the opening two games and I’m confident the boys selected will go out and do a great job.”

Wales U20: Matty Young (Cardiff Rugby), Harry Rees-Weldon (Dragons RFC), Elijah Evans (Cardiff Rugby), Steff Emanuel (Cardiff Rugby), Kodi Stone (Cardiff Rugby); Harri Ford (Dragons RFC), Rhodri Lewis (Scarlets); Ioan Emanuel (Bath Rugby), Harry Thomas (Scarlets), Kian Hire (Ospreys), Jonny Green (Harlequins), Nick Thomas (Dragons), Ryan Woodman (Dragons – captain), Morgan Morse (Ospreys), Owen Conquer (Dragons RFC).

Replacements: Isaac Young (Scarlets), Jordan Morris (Dragons RFC), Sam Scott (Bristol Bears), Osian Thomas (Leicester Tigers), Will Austin (Sale Sharks), Ieuan Davies (Bath Rugby), Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby), Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby).