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)
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