For many people, seeing a forward at the top of the leading try scorer table at this year's IRB Toshiba Junior World Championship 2009 in Japan may come as a bit of a surprise.
But having scored five tries in the opening two matches, for Wales and Ospreys academy flanker Justin Tipuric, this is the case following an outstanding hat-trick against Canada on Tuesday and two in their opening Pool D match against Tonga.
Given the array of talent on display in the backlines these five tries puts Tipuric ahead of the likes of New Zealand wing Zac Guildford, the Hurricanes wing who scored a hat-trick on day one against Uruguay, and Australian pair Richard Kingi and Kurtley Beale, who equalled the Junior World Championship record of four tries in a single match against Canada.
Wales head coach Phil Davies is not surprised, however, that Tipuric is becoming famous for his try scoring heights and will be hoping that his own star can score more on Saturday against Australia in Saga.
"Justin is a very intelligent player and turns up in a position of support some players wouldn't see. He knows how to be in the right place at the right time," said Davies of the flanker, who has captained Wales against Tonga and Canada.
Tipuric is likely to come up against Kingi and Beale in the Pool D decider against Australia on Saturday and although he would like to add to his try count, he believes that he was just a lucky man after collective work from his teammates produced the tries.
"I was just lucky enough to be on the end of some good team moves. They had done the real hard work before I just put down the ball," insisted the 19-year-old.
Even though they were semi finalists in the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship on their home soil and finished fourth in 2008, this year Wales were not initially considered one of the favourites.
The Welsh side have had a difficult season, having won only one match, against Italy, during the Under 20 Six Nations. Add to this the disciplinary sanction imposed after their match against France in last year's Championship, things were always going to be difficult starting on minus three points.
But two consecutive bonus point wins against Tonga and Canada have set up a thrilling pool decider on Saturday against Australia, with victory a must if Wales are to have a chance of topping the pool to earn a place in the semi finals, and Tipuric believes Wales have gone a long way to losing their underdog status.
"Since the start of the Six Nations we have been improving so much. We have had hard training sessions and grown stronger and stronger. I think we are at the peak at the right time in the tournament.
"I think both sides are evenly balanced and it is going to be a tight game. Australia have got a lot of experience and good individual players. But collectively I think we are better as a team. Rugby is a team game. So hopefully that will be an advantage for us."
Phil Davies has made three changes and one positional to the side that beat Canada 51-15 on Tuesday. Scarlets academy's Scott Williams comes in for Jason Harries in the centre, Nick Reynolds returns in place of Jamie Davies on the left wing, and Dragons academy back row James Thomas makes his first start of the campaign on the blindside, with Justin Tipuric retaining the captaincy but switching to the openside flank. Squad captain Scott Andrews will again start on the bench.
Davies said, "Having had our final training session on Friday morning, we all feel confident that we understand the challenge in front of us and are really looking forward to the game. Australia have brought twelve players who are playing regular Super 14 rugby back in Australia, so this will be a great Test match for our players to experience and gauge themselves against one of the world's best sides who also have a very productive development pathway. It will be a great way to benchmark where our players are in terms of world standards.
"As for Scott (Andrews), it was felt that after his long lay-off it would benefit himself and the side if he came off the bench as he gets back to match fitness. We will have two more games left in the competition after this match, and in addition to that, Simon Gardiner has been performing very well to date."
Wales team v Australia (Saturday, 9am UK time): Daniel Newton (Scarlets academy/ Llanelli); Jamie Loxton (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), Scott Williams (Scarlets academy / Llanelli), Ashley Beck (vice-captain, Ospreys academy / Aberavon), Nick Reynolds (Scarlets academy / Llanelli); Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys academy / Neath), Lloyd Williams (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers); Aaron Coundley (Dragons academy /Ebbw Vale), Rhys Williams (Blues academy / Pontypridd), Simon Gardiner (Scarlets academy / Llanelli), James King (Ospreys academy / Aberavon), Ashley Sweet (Dragons academy / Cross Keys), James Thomas (Dragons academy / Ebbw Vale), Justin Tipuric (capt, Ospreys academy / Aberavon), Rory Pitman (Ospreys academy / Bridgend / Taranaki).
Replacements: Craig Attwell (Dragons academy/ Newbridge, Scott Andrews (Blues Academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), Owen Evans (Llandovery), Josh Navidi (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), Dan Partridge (Cardiff). Rhys Downes (Blues academy / Pontypridd), Jason Harries (Carmarthen Quins)
Wales Pool D fixtures (all at Best Amenity Stadium, Saga):
Wales 51-5 Tonga Friday 5 June
Wales 51-15 Canada, Tuesday 9 June
Wales v Australia, Saturday 13 June
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