James Merriman will take over the captaincy of the Wales Under 21 when they try to follow up their opening victory over England in this season's Six
Nations Championship with a second triumph against Italy in Turin on Friday night.
Highly rated Gloucester Academy player Merriman, who hails from Pembrokeshire, sat out the first-half of the 32-21 victory over the English at Rodney Parade before joining the fray as a second half replacement for try scorer Ryan Shellard.
Now Shellard gives way for the new skipper, who takes over the captaincy from fellow back row man Jonathan Mills. Merriman is one of two changes in the starting line-up. The other is at centre, when Pontypridd's Tom Riley moves up off the bench to win his first cap in place of the injured Gavin Evans.
Coaches Chris Davey and Dai Rees have also made two changes among the replacements. Harlequins lock Ben Thomson gets into the 22 for the first time, while Cardiff Dafydd Hewitt takes Riley's place on the bench.
The Italians managed to match their Irish counterparts on tries last weekend, scoring three, but the visitors ran out 33-21 victors in the end. Wales Under 21 have an unbeaten record against Italy at this level, notching six wins in a row.
The last time they played in Italy Wales ran our 27-16 victors with a certain Gavin Henson kicking 12 points and Michael Phillips, Richie Pugh and Matthew Nuthall grabbing tries.
ITALY UNDER 21 V WALES UNDER 21
Chieri, Turin, Friday, 11 February
15 Ricky Williams (Newport)
14 Aled Brew (Ospreys)
13 Andrew Bishop (Neath)
12 Tom Riley (Pontypridd)
11 Chris Czekaj (Cardiff)
10 Matthew Jones (Ospreys)
9 Wayne Evans (Carmarthen Quins)
1 Scott Roberts (Bridgend)
2 Duane Goodfield (Pontypridd)
3 Cai Griffiths (Neath)
4 Alun Wyn-Jones (Swansea)
5 Ian Evans (Pontypridd)
6 Chris Davies (Bridgend)
7 James Merriman (Hartpury College/Gloucester, captain)
8 Jonathan Mills (Scarlets)
16 Rhys James (UWIC)
17 Ross Davies (Newbridge)
18 Ben Thomson (Harlequins)
19 Tom Smith (Neath)
20 Aled Thomas (Carmarthen Quins)
21 Dafydd Hewitt (Cardiff)
22 Rhodri McAtee (Penzance)
Meanwhile, the Wales Under 19 selectors have made five changes to the team that went down 24-10 to England at Aberavon last week for their game against Italy at Parabiago.
The Italians warmed-up for this fixture with a victory over Scotland Under 19 before Christmas - a team that Wales managed to beat 12-0 last month. Two of the changes come behind the scrum, where Greg Evans returns in place of Aaron Hopkins, while Jon Spratt replaces Gareth Williams-Davies at outside half.
Up front there are changes in all three rows of the scrum. Richard Wilkes takes over from Craig Mitchell at tight-head prop, James Connors replaces Will Jones at lock and Ben Lewis comes in for Steve Phillips at flanker.
ITALY Under19 v WALES Under19
11 February, 2005 - Parabiago
15 Aaron Bramwell (Swanesa/Ospreys)
14 Darren Daniel (Llanelli/Scarlets)
13 Greg Evans (Pontypridd/Blues)
12 Tom Cheesman (Bath/Dragons)
11 Michael Davies (Llangennech/Scarlets)
10 Jonathan Spratt (Neath Ath/Ospreys)
9 Martin Roberts (Neath/Ospreys, captain)
1 Nicky Downs (Caerphilly/Dragons)
2 James Littlehales (Mumbles/Ospreys)
3 Richard Wilkes (Bedwas/Dragons)
4 Bradley Davies (Beddau/Blues)
5 James Conners (Glamorgan Wand/Blues)
6 Will Waldron (Newport/Dragons)
7 Ben Lewis (Mumbles/Ospreys)
8 Adam Powell (Cardiff/Blues)
16 Daniel George (Llangennech/Scarlets)
17 Craig Mitchell (Neath/Ospreys)
18 Michael Collins (Maesteg/Ospreys)
19 Roy Jones (Swansea/Ospreys)
20 Stuart Phillips (UWIC/Scarlets)
21 Gareth Williams-Davies (Cardiff/Blues)
22 Alex Walker (Newport/Dragons)
FRANCE UNDER 18 v WALES UNDER 18
Foix, 12 February
After their winning start over Italy Under 18 on 6 Janaury at The Gnoll, Neath, the newly formed Wales Under 18 side can expect a much tougher test when they travel to France this week.
There are five survivors in the starting line-up from the 37-16 victory over the Italians for a game that is being played with a 1 September age limit, rather than 1 January.
Ashley Smith, Rhys Jones, son of former Wales skipper Kingsley Jones, Jamie Corsi, Josh Turnbull and Lewis Evans are the survivors, while Gareth Maule came on as a replacement.
15 Jamie Roberts (Rumney/Blues)
14 Alec Jenkins (Carmarthen/Scarlets)
13 Ashley Smith (Newport HSOB/Dragons)
12 Gareth Maule (Newport/Dragons)
11 Marcus Johnstone (Pontypool/Dragons)
10 Rhys Jones (Newport/Dragons)
9 Lee Williams (Pontyberem/Scarlets)
1 Rhys Gill (Ystrad/Blues)
2 Ashley James (Bonymaen/Ospreys)
3 Jamie Corsi (Newport/Dragons)
4 Josh Turnbull (Newcastle Emlyn/Scarlets)
5 Will Jones (Cardiff/Blues)
6 Lewis Evans (Newport HSOB/Dragons)
7 Ben Flower (Newport/Dragons)
8 Lee Williams (Burry Port/Scarlets)
16 Ken Owens (Carmarthen Ath/Scarlets)
17 Hugh Gustafson (Pontyberem/Scarlets)
18 Keiron Jenkins (Treorchy/Blues)
19 James Murphy (Whitchurch HS/Blues)
20 Ross Cridland (Mumbles/Ospreys)
21 Julian Bishop (Torquay/Dragons)
22 Martyn Thomas (Llandeilo/Scarlets)
Spain v Wales
Saturday 12th February 2005
Kick-Off 4pm, Ourense
Wales Women will be looking for their first win of the Six Nations when they travel to Spain this weekend, to face a Spanish side that defeated Ireland on Saturday.
There are four changes to the line-up that were defeated by England. Kerry Jenkins returns from injury to reclaim her slot as first choice scrum half, whie Ayla Rose moves up from the bench to replace Becky Dando (shoulder) in the second row. Saracens' Kath Foale and UWIC's Eirlys Lougher take up places on the bench to replace Rose and Rachel Brown (unavailable).
Encounters between Wales and Spain have historically been hard-fought and equally balanced affairs. When the two sides met last year, a close match ensued, with Spain beating Wales 7-12 at Cardiff Arms Park.
1. Amy Broadstock (Llandaff North)
2. Jennifer Davies (Caernarfon)
3. Louise Horgan (Saracens)
4. Claire Donovan (Saracens)
5. Ayla Rose (Llandaff North)
6. Catrina Nicholas (UWIC)
7. Kylie Wilson (Waterloo)
8. Emma Phillips (Llandaff North)
9. Kerry Jenkins (UWIC)
10. Awen Thomas (Cardiff Quins)
11. Hayley Baxter (UWIC)
12. Rhian Williams (Wasps)
13. Louise Rickard (Saracens)
14. Manon Williams (Caernarfon)
15. Elen Evans (Dolgellau)
16. Nicola John (Cardiff Quins)
17. Claire Horgan (Waterloo)
18. Katherine Foale (Saracens)
19. Eirlys Lougher (UWIC)
20. Becky Davies (Cardiff Quins)
21. Stacey Saunders (Tylorstown)
22. Lowri Jones (Bala)
23. Lucy Berry (Fishguard & Goodwick)