Wales Under-19 have the Triple Crown safely under lock and key but that is "only half the job done" and they are determined to go another huge step closer to clinching the 2006 Grand Slam when they take on Italy in their Under-19 Six Nations match at Aberavon RFC on Thursday night (kick-off 7.00 pm).
A five-try 31-6 away triumph over Ireland Under-19 clinched the Triple Crown to follow up a stunning 13-10 victory over England and then a thumping 48-10 rout against Scotland.
Justin Burnell, the Wales Under-19 Head Coach, has made nine changes to the team who beat Ireland as they attempt to make it five wins on the bounce following their historic 27-7 victory over Australia - the young Wallabies' first Test defeat on Welsh soil - and the Six Nations wins over the English, Scots and Irish.
Hooker Marc Jones (Sale / Exiles), lock Adam Brown (Dragons) and Ospreys flanker Sam Kiley will all win their first Under-19 caps against the Azzurri, prop Hugh Gustafson - last season's Under-18 captain - leading the national Under-19 team for the first time.
"I have got no doubts whatsoever about the abilities of the players coming in," said Burnell.
"At the end of the month we go to Dubai for four weeks for the Under-19 World Cup and it is essential that everyone in the squad has game time before that tournament so they are now given their opportunities to impress.
"We have got to a level where all the boys are such a massive part of our environment and the match against Italy is the chance to keep the drum beating.
"It is great to have won the Triple Crown but that is only half the job done - we want the Grand Slam as well."
In addition to their three players making their debuts, the other changes from the starting line-up against Ireland see Blues lock James Down, threequarters Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) and Jimmy Norris (Dragons) and Scarlets half backs Rhys Priestland and Darren Allinson called up to start against the Azzurri.
Wales Under-19: Martyn Thomas (Scarlets); Alec Jenkins (Scarlets), Gareth Maule (Dragons), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jimmy Norris (Dragons); Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Darren Allinson (Scarlets); Hugh Gustafson (Scarlets, captain), Marc Jones (Exiles), Jamie Corsi (Dragons), Adam Brown (Dragons), James Down (Blues), Sam Kiley (Ospreys), Daniel Franks (Blues), Lewis Evans (Dragons).
Replacements (from): Keiron Jenkins (Blues), Nicholas Eaves (Blues), Bradley Davies (Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Ashley Smith (Dragons), Robert Lewis (Dragons), James Lewis (Dragons), Matthew Larsen (Blues), Marc Breeze (Ospreys),
Cardiff Blues are pleased to announce Cardiff and Vale College as the new education partner for the region's BTEC Extended Diploma in Rugby Development, Coaching and Fitness, delivered in conjunction with TVS Education.
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