Wales winger Kristian Phillips scores against France
Wales Under 20 head coach Phil Davies has made two changes to the side that beat France 43-8 a fortnight ago for the crunch clash against Ireland at Athlone on Friday (KO 7.35pm, BBC 2 Wales).
Dan Watchurst missed the France game through illness and returns in place of Rhodri Jones who has sustained an injury and Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies makes his first full start for Wales Under 20.
Davies said, "We feel it's important to keep consistency of selection at this stage in the tournament. Rhys Downes has played really well so far and also showed good leadership qualities in partnership with Josh Navidi against France. This change will give Gareth Davies an opportunity to start a game and show what he can do at this level.
"Following the pleasing performance against France last time out, the key challenge for us now is to back up the growing expectation from ourselves and others and show the endurance, technical ability and mental toughness to do it again.
"This game against Ireland will be the biggest challenge so far for us. We lost narrowly to them at Parc y Scarlets last season and then beat them to gain fifth position at the IRB Junior World Championship in Japan last June. Both teams are going into this match on the back of impressive wins with Ireland beating England at Gloucester and our win over France so it should be an exciting match. Ireland are a quality side that put their bodies on the line for 80 minutes which is what we've been doing but we need to do it again.
"We feel we have gained momentum through this campaign and that is thanks to the cooperation and support shown by the Regions and clubs in enabling us to work for the benefit of the players and their development."
Wales U20 v Ireland (Dubarry Park, Athlone, Friday 12 March, 7.35pm):
Dan Fish (Blues); James Loxton (Blues), Ben John (Ospreys), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Kristian Phillips (Ospreys); Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys, vice-captain), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Dan Watchurst (Dragons), Rhys Williams (Blues), Simon Gardiner (Scarlets), Macauley Cook (Blues), Lloyd Peers (Ospreys), Morgan Allen (Pontypool), Josh Navidi (capt, Blues), Toby Faletau (Dragons)
Replacements: Ieuan Davies (Glamorgan Wanderers), Trystan Davies (Scarlets), James Thomas (Dragons), Rhys Jenkins (Dragons), Edward Siggery (Llandovery), Rhys Downes (Blues), Dean Gunter (Blues) Travelling reserve: Joe Rees (Tonmawr / Ospreys academy)
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.