Burnell has named Llanelli lock Josh Turnbull as his skipper for the period leading up to the IRB Under 19 World Championships in April. After Friday's Test against Ireland, the side travel to Sorgues, near Avignon to play France on February 23 before hosting England on March 2nd at Aberavon.
Burnell said, "It was a close call between Josh and Sam (Warburton) for the role of captain but Josh brings more experience having been a key part of our Under 19 Six Nations campaign last season - and having played in last year's IRB tournament in Dubai.
"He is very much in the mould of last year's captain Bradley Davies, leading by example.
"He has come back to form having recently suffered from appendicitis.
"Sam Warburton, along with Narberth's Lloyd Phillips and Cardiff's Jevon Groves, will produce an exciting back row but overall I expect there to be more surprise packages emerging from this team than last year's Under 19 side where there was a huge sense of expectation. This is a workman-like side who work very hard as a unit.
"I am sure the Ireland side will be looking to make in three in a row after victories for their senior and Under 20 sides last week. They are proud of their development structure but we will be up for the challenge."
Wales Under 19 team v Ireland
Friday February 16, kick-off 7.15pm, Stradey Park
Wales: Daniel Evans (Llanelli, Scarlets); James Egan (Cardiff, Blues), Luke Ford (Glamorgan Wanderers, Blues), Rhys Williams (Llanelli, Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Neath, Ospreys); David Langdon (Ebbw Vale, Dragons), Gareth Williams (Glamorgan Wanderers, Blues); Ryan Bevington (Bridgend, Ospreys), Ben Roberts (Ebbw Vale, Dragons), Patrick Palmer (Llantrisant, Blues), Haydn Pugh (Llangennech, Scarlets), Josh Turnbull (captain. Llanelli, Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Cardiff, Blues), Lloyd Phillips (Narberth, Scarlets), Sam Warburton (Glamorgan Wanderers)
Replacements: Rhys Webb (Bridgend, Ospreys), Gareth Owen (Maesteg, Ospreys), Huw Dowden (Beddau, Blues), Lloyd Elliott (Tondu, Ospreys), Philip Price (Bridgend Athletic, Ospreys), Nathan White (Maesteg Quins, Ospreys), Nicholas Cudd (Tumble, Scarlets)