Wales v Tonga: Steff Evans, Seb Davies and Thomas Young to start for Wales

Thomas Young
Thomas Young is the son of Wasps boss Dai, the ex-Wales and Lions tight-head prop
Wales v Tonga and Samoa
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: 16 June Kick-off: 06:35 BST
Coverage: Live on S4C. Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV (UK only).

Uncapped trio Steff Evans, Seb Davies and Thomas Young have been named in the Wales team to face Tonga in Auckland on Friday (06:30 BST).

Another six players could win their first caps from the bench.

With 12 Wales players in New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions, tour coach Robin McBryde named 13 uncapped players in his initial 32-man squad.

Ospreys' Sam Davies starts Friday's match at fly-half, with Cardiff Blues' Gareth Anscombe at full-back.

Front-row trio Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones (both Scarlets) and Dillon Lewis (Blues) are among those likely to make their debuts from the bench, along with Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Ollie Griffiths, Gloucester back Owen Williams and Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies.

Top L-R: Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Dillon Lewis. Bottom L-R: Ollie Griffiths, Aled Davies, Owen Williams
The six uncapped players on the bench. Top L-R: Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Dillon Lewis. Bottom L-R: Ollie Griffiths, Aled Davies, Owen Williams

Blues' Seb Davies is alongside Cory Hill of Dragons in the second row.

Wales have capped only three new players since the 2015 World Cup - fly-half Davies, flanker Ellis Jenkins, who is on the bench on Friday, and Hill.

Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts will captain Wales for the first time on his 95th appearance, partnering Scarlets' Scott Williams.

Roberts and Blues wing Alex Cuthbert were both Lions in Australia in 2013.

Scarlets blind-side flanker Aaron Shingler returns, while scrum-half team-mate Gareth Davies has another chance to impress in the absence of Lions tourist Rhys Webb.

Ospreys loose-head Nicky Smith is back in a starting front row completed by Blues hooker Kristian Dacey and Exeter tight-head Thomas Francis.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Wales tour: Tomas Francis relishes Wales bid to make Eden Park history

McBryde is leading the team as Warren Gatland guides the Lions and Rob Howley is one of his assistants.

Ex-Wales and Lions hooker McBryde says having so many keen young players at his disposal led to difficult selection discussions.

"To be honest, I didn't expect to have the headaches that we've had as coaches looking at the selection for the first game because of the way that these youngsters have put their hands up," he said..

"The enthusiasm they've brought to every training session has been outstanding."

McBryde added: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players to be taking part in this match at Eden Park, and we expect them to make the most of it."

Wales' game against Tonga is a warm-up match before New Zealand play Samoa at the same venue.

McBryde then takes his Wales squad to Samoa to face them in Apia on Friday, 23 June.


Tonga: Dave Halaifonua; Nafi Tuitavake, Siale Piutau (capt), Vili Tahitua, Cooper Vuna; Latiume Fosita, Tane Takulua; Latu Talakai, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna, Leva Fifita, Steve Mafi, Dan Faleafa, Nili Latu, Valentino Mapapalangi.

Replacements: Suliasi Taufalele, Sila Puafisi, Phil Kite, Sione Tau, Mike Faleafa, Leon Fukofuka, Kali Hala, Kiti Taimani.

Wales: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins, capt), Steffan Evans (Scarlets); Sam Davies (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Thomas Young (Wasps), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues).

Replacements: Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ollie Griffiths (Newport Gwent Dragons), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Cory Allen (Ospreys).

Top Stories