Hayward makes three changes for second France test
14 June 2014 00:51am
By Liz Jones
Wales Under 20 captain Steffan Hughes leads his side against France on Sunday
Wales Under 20 head coach Byron Hayward has made three changes to the starting line-up for his side's second Junior World Championship match against France in a week.
Lock Scott Andrews replaces fellow Dragon Joe Davies, Scott Matthews comes in on the openside for Will Boyde, and Ashley Evans returns to the starting XV in place of left wing Joshua Adams. In addition, Ben Leung comes onto the bench for Callum Lewis who picked up an ankle injury in the 13-3 victory on Tuesday.
Although Wales beat Grand Slam winners France in their final Pool match, it wasn't enough to overturn their defeat to Ireland and make it through to the top four, so Wales face France again in the 6th place semi-final.
Hayward said, "Scott Andrews and Scott Matthews will be fresher having not played as much rugby as Joe (Davies) and Will Boyde in this tournament. As far as Ashley is concerned, we feel he can add an extra dimension in his more usual position of wing."
The former Wales outside half is confident in the ability of the Welsh youngsters to rise to the French challenge again on Sunday.
"We managed to win on Tuesday without much territory or possession, so if we can improve on those fronts, and play to our strengths, there's no reason we can't repeat the feat.
"France are excellent at the line-out, that is an area we must target in order to both deprive France of good quality ball and to increase our own attacking opportunities. We have to be more accurate in everything we do."
The conditions in Auckland have improved since Tuesday's match, and Hayward is hoping that will work in Wales' favour.
"The weather dictated that we had to play a direct game on Tuesday, but the conditions are much better now and we will look to play a more expansive game with the ball in hand."
A win against France would see Wales play the winner of Australia v Samoa at Eden Park for 5th place.
"It's a huge incentive to try and get to Eden Park for Finals Day," added Hayward.
"It's a very prestigious ground and to be part of Finals Day there would be fantastic."
Wales Under 20 v France (ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe, Sunday 15 June, 6.35am UK time, shown as live at 10pm on S4C):
Dafydd Howells (Ospreys); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (capt, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Ashley Evans (Ospreys); Angus O'Brien (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Scott Matthews (Dragons), James Benjamin (Dragons)
Replacements; Scott Otten (Ospreys), Luke Garrett (Dragons), Ben Leung (Scarlets), Ben Roach (Blues), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), Luc Jones (Dragons), Ethan Davies (Dragons), Harri Evans (RGC)
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
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Wales Under 20 made history as they delivered a first junior Six Nations Grand Slam since 2005 as they overcame a nervous first-half to finally put Italy to the sword at Parc Eirias and emerge with a 35-6 victory.