Strange expects Wales U20 to improve

Wales U20s celebrate with Joe Thomas after he scored a try against Italy

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Six Nations: Wales celebrate Under-20 Grand Slam win

Head coach Jason Strange says his Wales Under-20 Grand Slam holders can improve by 20-30% at the Junior World Championship that starts on Tuesday.

They face Ireland on the opening day before completing their group with games against Georgia and holders New Zealand.

“We feel there’s another 20 or 30% improvement in us as a group from the Six Nations,” said Strange.

“And if we reach those high standards then I’m sure we’ll do well.”

Strange and his assistants Richard Hodges, Chris Horsman and Geraint Lewis will remain in charge of Wales U20 until at least the end of the 2017 tournament in Georgia.

The quartet hope to see their charges thrive with Strange insisting any pressure will come from within rather than their status as Grand Slam holders.

Strange said: “The pressure will be internal. We’ve got high standards, high expectations and that’ll be the case during the World Cup.

“And that’s the most important thing for us – to maintain those high standards and also retain the identity on and off the field.

“If we do that, hopefully we’ll give ourselves a good chance and be competitive.”

Strange says starting with a win against Ireland is their focus, rather than the encounter that awaits on Wednesday, 15 June with Pool A favourites New Zealand Under-20.

“We are not focused on anybody too much apart from Ireland and then the same against Georgia and we’ll be in a good place going into that third game,” said Strange.

A hamstring injury has ruled out Newport Gwent Dragons wing George Gasson, who has been replaced by Ebbw Vale’s Jared Rosser.

Wales squad for Junior World Championship

Forwards: Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Liam Belcher (Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues), Josh Macleod (Scarlets).

Backs: Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), Jared Rosser (Ebbw Vale), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys).

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