Ospreys lock Rory Thornton will make his international debut for Wales in Friday’s Test match against Samoa at Apia Park (19:30 local/07:30 BST).
The 22-year-old former Wales U20 captain is one of seven changes to the starting line-up which helped defeat Tonga in Eden Park last Friday. In the backs, Aled Davies makes his first international start at scrum-half, Tyler Morgan lines up at outside centre, and Cory Allen is named on the right wing.
Two of last week’s debutants, hooker Ryan Elias and tighthead Dillon Lewis, also make their first starts, with openside Ellis Jenkins another player to be promoted from the bench.
Two uncapped players are named among the Wales replacements: Cardiff Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams and Ospreys lock Adam Beard. Should both make it onto the field at Apia Park on Friday, that would take the new caps on Wales’ summer tour to twelve.
“We’ve heard throughout the week from local people how much Samoa values Wales as a rugby nation, and there’s a weight of history behind that,” says McBryde, referencing the groundbreaking matches between the two countries in the late eighties. “That said, we’ve been reinforcing the message to the players that there will be nothing friendly about Friday’s match.
“Samoa will be smarting from their outing last Friday night at Eden Park against the All Blacks. We’ve got to be braced for a backlash, a partisan crowd, and look to keep building on the good things we showed in our win against Tonga. Training has been hard and the players have been extremely focused, knowing they’ve got one last chance this season to give a good account of themselves for their country.”
Wales team to face Samoa:
15 Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues, 10 caps)
14 Cory Allen (Ospreys, 5)
13 Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons, 4 caps)
12 Jamie Roberts (c) (Harlequins, 92 caps)
11 Steffan Evans (Scarlets, 1 cap)
10 Sam Davies (Ospreys, 7)
9 Aled Davies (Scarlets, 1 cap)
1 Nicky Smith (Ospreys, 13 caps)
2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets, 1 cap)
3 Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues, 1 cap)
4 Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues, 1 cap)
5 Rory Thornton (Ospreys, uncapped)
6 Aaron Shingler (Scarlets, 9 caps)
7 Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, 4 caps)
8 Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues, 2 caps)
16 Scott Baldwin (Ospreys, 33 caps)
17 Wyn Jones (Scarlets, 1 cap)
18 Rhodri Jones (Ospreys, 14 caps)
19 Adam Beard (Ospreys, uncapped)
20 Thomas Young (Wasps, 1 cap)
21 Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues, uncapped)
22 Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
23 Scott Williams (Scarlets, 47 caps)