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Thomas Young handed Wales debut

Thomas Young will make his Test debut on Friday after being named in the Wales starting XV to take on Tonga at Eden Park.

The Wasps star, who was a European Player of the Year nominee, will start at openside alongside two fellow uncapped players in lock Seb Davies and wing Steff Evans.

Another Premiership star, Owen Williams, could follow in Young’s footsteps if he comes off the bench where Ellis Jenkins and Cory Allen are the only capped players named.

Scarlets duo Wyn Jones and Ryan Elias and Cardiff Blues’ Dillon Lewis, Newport Gwent Dragons back rower Ollie Griffiths and Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies are the other uncapped players on the bench.

There will be plenty of experience to draw from in midfield however with captain Jamie Roberts (94 caps) and Scott Williams (46 caps) starting outside the exciting Sam Davies.

“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,” says head coach Robin McBryde.

“We’ve got an average age of 25 in the match squad, but there are experienced heads in there. We’ll need them all to be on top form against what will undoubtedly be a passionate, tough Tongan team.

“We’ve had a very good week in Auckland. The younger players have gained a valuable insight into what is expected of an international rugby player, with much of that being led by the senior players’ example. That learning process will continue this Friday in Eden Park, and again when we head to Samoa for next Friday’s Test match in Apia.”

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), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (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 (Dragons), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Cory Allen (Ospreys)

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

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