Four other players - Glamorgan Wanderers tight-head prop Scott Andrews, Aberavon and Ospreys centre Ashley Beck, Pontypridd scrum half Rhys Downes and Cross Keys lock Ashley Sweet have also been named as leaders of the group who could potentially captain the side during the season.
All six players will start for Wales at McDiarmid Park, Perth next Friday night (7.10pm, BBC 2 Wales) with Dragons full back Jason Tovey also starting the game.
Phil Davies said, "The players themselves effectively selected the leadership group through highlighting qualities they felt were important to this side. James and Kristian certainly lead by example on and off the pitch but it is quite feasible that others will also have the chance to experience captaincy.
"We are thrilled at the commitment the players have shown in our regional and national training sessions, and in their performances for their clubs and regional age grade sides and we are very grateful to the support of the Premiership and Regional coaches, and the WRU Regional Performance Development Managers.
"I feel we have a competitive core squad of 27 and there is certainly a strong spine in this starting line-up, with Jason Tovey, who has played regular professional rugby starting at 15, Ashley Beck at 12, James (Thomas) and Rhys (Downes) at 8 and 9 and with leaders in the front five too in Scott Andrews and Ashley Sweet.
"A few players can consider themselves unlucky to miss out on the 22, such as prop Aaron Coundley and Scott Williams, who has come into the Six Nations squad to replace Ryan Healy who has broken his jaw.
"But all of he 27 will get a chance to prove themselves, there is very much an open-door policy, even for players outside of the initial 27.
"In terms of effort, commitment and desire to play for Wales, we know we couldn't have asked for any more from the players, but I'm sure the other nations will be just as eager to do well, starting with Scotland, then England for our first home match of the season."
Tickets for Wales Under 20 v England are available from (tomorrow morning, Friday):
- WRU shop, Gate 3, Westgate Street (Mon - Sat 9.30 - 5pm)
- Ticketline, Westgate Street, Cardiff (Mon - Sat 9 - 5.30pm, phone bookings can be made by calling 02920 230130)
- Bridgend RFC at their home game against Neath on Saturday (5.30kick-off)
- Tickets are £5 for juniors and students, £10 and £15 for adults
Wales Under 20 team v Scotland - Friday 6 February, 7.10pm, McDiarmid Park, Perth
Jason Tovey (Dragons); Kristian Phillips (Ospreys / Neath), Nick Reynolds (Llanelli), Ashley Beck (Ospreys / Aberavon), Adam Hughes (Dragons academy / Bedwas); David Langdon (Dragons academy / Ebbw Vale), Rhys Downes (Blues academy / Pontypridd); Dan Watchurst (Dragons academy / Bedwas), Rhys Williams (Blues academy / Pontypridd), Scott Andrews (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), Sam Pailor (Pontypool), Ashley Sweet (Dragons academy / Cross Keys), James King (Ospreys academy / Aberavon), Josh Navidi (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), James Thomas (Dragons academy / Ebbw Vale).
Replacements: Simon Gardener (Scarlets academy / Llanelli), Craig Attwell (Dragons academy / Newbridge), Dan Partridge (Beddau), Jake Thomas (Cardiff), James Leadbeater (Cross Keys), Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys academy / Neath), James Loxton (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers).