Playing fullback for the Irish team will be full international Luke Fitzgerald. Although in the Irish Six Nations squad, he has been released to play for the U20 side. He has made ten Magners League appearances for Leinster and three replacement appearances for the province in the Heineken Cup.
"I skippered a couple of games for my junior district side in Newport in my younger days but I have settled into the role in training. I am excited at the challenge and hope I can bring something new to the team in this role," said Smith. "It's going to be tough against Ireland - they have some very experienced age grade players in their side. Fullback Luke Fitzgerald has put in some excellent performances for Leinster and made his senior Irish debut against the Pacific Islands in the autumn.
"The Irish age grade sides tend to mirror the style of the senior side so we will be expecting a running backline and, with Eric Elwood as coach of the U20 team, I'm sure they will also have a good kicking game.
"The U21 Six Nations is going to be a big step up for those of us who were involved in the U19 set-up last season. A lot of teams will be looking to beat us with Wales U19 having been successful in the Six Nations last season but we are comfortable with the favourites tag and hopefully that will give us confidence to do well.
"Playing regional rugby this season has certainly given some of our team members the experience of high intensity rugby and the physicality that comes with playing against current and former internationals and British and Irish Lions.
"However, as a team we have had limited time to prepare for this match and we will have to play well at the Liberty Stadium to overcome Ireland. We are looking forward to playing at that venue and hopefully a good crowd will turn out to watch us in our first match."
Wales will also come up against a familiar name in the Irish back row in Thomas Anderson - son of 27-times capped Willie Anderson.
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Wales U20: Martyn Thomas (Llanelli/Scarlets); Alec Jenkins (Llanelli/Scarlets), James Lewis (Bedwas/Dragons), Ashley Smith (Newport/Dragons, captain), Thomas James (Cardiff/Blues); Rhys Priestland (Llanelli/Scarlets), Robert Lewis (Neath/Ospreys); Hugh Gustafson (Llanelli/Scarlets), Ken Owens (Llanelli/Scarlets), Jamie Corsi (Newport/Dragons), Bradley Davies (Cardiff/Blues), Lou Reed (Llanelli/Scarlets), Danny Lydiate (Ebbw Vale/Dragons), James Harris (Bedwas/Dragons), Lewis Evans (Newport/Dragons)
Replacements: Ben Flower (Bedwas/Dragons), Kieron Jenkins (Glam Wands/Blues), Adam Brown (Bedwas/Dragons), Sam Kiley (Swansea/Ospreys), Darren Allinson (Cardiff/Blues), Rhys Jones (Sale Sharks), Richard Thomas (Aberavon/Scarlets)
Ireland U20: Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock/Leinster); Shane Monahan (Dublin University/Leinster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Aidan Wynne (Buccaneers/Connacht), Keith Earles (Thomond/Munster); Ian Keatley (UCD/Leinster), Paul O'Donohoe (UCD/Leinster); David Millard (Belfast Harlequins), Richard Sweeney (St. Mary's/Leinster), Jamie Hagan (Greystones/Leinster), Conor McInerney (UCD/Leinster), Andrew Browne (Galwegians/Connacht), Thomas Anderson (Dungannon/Ulster), David Pollock (Captain, QUB/Ulster), Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Replacements: Ger Slattery (Young Munster/Munster), Ruaidhri Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Neilus Keogh (UCC/Munster), Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemian/Munster), David Drake (Ballymena/Ulster), Niall O'Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Felix Jones (Seapoint/Leinster)