10:41am Thursday 19th June 2014
HEAD coach Byron Hayward is looking for his Wales Under-20s to finish their Junior World Championship with a bang against Samoa tomorrow morning (kick-off 6.35am).
Sunday’s narrow 19-18 defeat to France means that they are fighting for seventh place against the Pacific Islanders in North Harbour.
“It's been a difficult few days but the players have been honest and professional in their feedback and appraisal of the game,” said Hayward.
"We did well to come back and take the lead in the second half on Sunday, and scored two good tries against one of the best defences in the competition.
“Our scrum was again dominant and to that end, it was disappointing not to come away with the win, but that's the nature of sport.
"Last year, we were on the right side of some single score victories, this time we have been on the receiving end but the harsh lessons that have been learnt are that if you make mistakes at this level, you pay for them.
"The improvement of some of the players here is tangible, and that is a key part of our role.”
Hayward makes five changes. Scott Otten comes in at hooker and Joe Davies starts in the second row with Will Boyde and Ben Roach starting in the back row. Behind the scrum, Ethan Davies gets his first start at outside half.
"We are determined to stick to our game plan and do well against Samoa in our final game,” added Hayward.
"Samoa are a much improved side compared to last season. Most of their players are New Zealand based, they beat Scotland and gave New Zealand a really good game so we certainly won't be underestimating them.
"We need to play to our strengths and dominate up front before moving the ball wide if the opportunities arise.”
Wales U20s: Dafydd Howells (Ospreys); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (captain, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Ashley Evans (Ospreys); Ethan Davies (Dragons), Tom Williams (Blues); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Otten (Ospreys), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Joe Davies (Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), Ben Roach (Blues) Replacements: Ethan Lewis (Blues), Luke Garrett (Dragons), Callum Lewis (Blues), Scott Andrews (Dragons), Scott Matthews (Dragons), James Benjamin (Dragons), Luc Jones (Dragons), Angus O'Brien (Dragons), Harri Evans (RGC)
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