Coach Chris Davey said, "Rhys is one of our most experienced players having been with us for two seasons. He is a natural leader on the field and I'm sure the boys will give him 100%."
Davey has made six changes, one positional, from the side beaten by Argentina on Saturday for tomorrow's World Cup 5th-8th place play off game against England in Vichy (4pm BST).
Wales have to beat England to reach the 5th place play off game on Sunday against the winners of tomorrow's first game in Vichy between Ireland and Argentina.
Craig Evans returns at full back, Aaron Bramwell on the left wing, Tom Riley takes over from the injured captain Dafydd Hewitt at inside centre and Aled Thomas switches to outside half from full back with Martin Roberts making way at scrum half for Nicky Griffiths.
At forward, Rob McCusker comes in for Craig Everett on the blindside flank.
Davey said, "It will be a tough game for us against a very powerful looking England side who, of course, won the Six Nations Grand Slam last season. We know we will have to play really well to be competitive.
"We have given everything on our opening three games and I am hoping the boys have got something left in the tank for what will be a really tough game for us.
"England are a very big side and they have all their best players from the Six Nations Championship. For us, it's a different story - only three of our starting line-up started for us against England in February - tomorrow's captain Rhys Shellard, prop Rhys Gill and lock Dominic Day. Having said that, I cannot fault any one of these boys, they have been fantastic from the start. I think they will go home as better players and better people."
IRB Under 21 World Championships (Auvergne, France)
Wales team v England (Wednesday June 21, Vichy, kick-off 4pm BST): C Evans (Scarlets); R Davies (Bridgend), T Cheeseman (Bath), T Riley (Blues), A Bramwell (Ospreys); A Thomas (Dragons), N Griffiths (Ospreys); R Gill (Blues), E Shervington (Ospreys), C Mitchell (Ospreys), W Jones (Dragons), D Day (Scarlets), R McCusker (Scarlets), R Shellard (capt, Blues), A Powell (Blues)
Replacements: N Downs (Neath), R Wilkes (Dragons), C Dicomedis (Blues), S Phillips (Carmarthen Quins), C Everett (Worcester Warriors), M Roberts (Ospreys), D Lockyer (Blues)