10:02am Monday 9th June 2014
By Chris Kirwan
BOSS Byron Hayward has made a pair of changes behind the scrum as Wales Under-20s look for a spark in their final Junior World Championship pool game against France.
The young guns are unlikely to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament even if they turn over the Grand Slam winning French tomorrow morning (kick-off 4.35am).
They need to beat the Six Nations champions with a bonus point and hope that Ireland, who turned them over 35-21 on Friday, fail to bag a five-point haul from their encounter with Group B strugglers Fiji.
It is unlikely they will get the chance to repeat their third-place finish of 2012 or last year’s second, but head coach Hayward is looking for them to finish the pool stages with a bang.
He keeps faith with the pack, who have impressed in both games so far, but brings in Tom Williams at scrum-half for Luc Jones and Dafydd Howells at full-back in place of Ashley Evans.
The head coach said: "We felt the forwards played well against Ireland and as a result, they are unchanged for this match.
“We feel the two changes behind the scrum will bring something extra to this particular game, with Tom Williams, who played very well during the Six Nations, expected to up the tempo at 9, and we feel Dafydd's running ability could course France problems from full back.
"France have an excellent line-out and maul, so we will need to try to break up the game a little. “They are unbeaten this season, but Ireland pushed them close and they are beatable – if we cut out the errors and every player performs to his optimum level.”
Six Newport Gwent Dragons young guns start with four more on the bench.
Even if Wales lose it is likely that they will be in the playoffs for places 5-8 rather than 9-12.
Wales U20s: Dafydd Howells (Ospreys); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (captain, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Joshua Adams (Scarlets); Angus O'Brien (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Joe Davies (Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), James Benjamin (Dragons)
Replacements; Scott Otten (Ospreys), Luke Garrett (Dragons), Callum Lewis (Blues), Ben Roach (Blues), Scott Matthews (Dragons), Luc Jones (Dragons); Ethan Davies (Dragons), Harri Evans (RGC)
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