Christ Tshiunza tipped to be a future star by Wales coach Wayne Pivac as teenage Exeter forward gears up to make his international debut against Fiji on Saturday
- Teenage flanker Christ Tshiunza is on the bench for Wales against Fiji on Sunday
- Alex Cuthbert to play his first Test since 2017, while Ellis Jenkins captains Wales
- Thomas Young also starts after Wayne Pivac was granted special dispensation
Christ Tshiunza can redeem Wales’ hopes of competing with the big boys at the 2023 World Cup, according to Wayne Pivac who will hand him his debut this Sunday against Fiji.
Exeter Chiefs’ 19-year-old blind-side flanker, who stands at 6ft 6in and 17st 6lbs, is on the bench for the Cardiff Test.
And Pivac thinks he is a star of the future.
Dynamic teenage flanker Christ Tshiunza is on the bench for Wales against Fiji on Sunday
L Williams; Cuthbert, Adams, J Williams, Rees-Zammit; Biggar, Hardy; Carré, Elias, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Jenkins, Young, Basham.
Bench: Roberts, G Thomas, John, Tshiunza, S Davies, T Williams, Sheedy, Tompkins.
‘He’s athletic, can play six and second-row, and at 19 with that natural frame at the moment, just imagine him in two years’ time with the training and the gym,’ he said.
‘If you look what’s coming up with the 2023, 2027, 2031 World Cups, those boys at 20 and 19 years of age, there’s no reason if they look after themselves and keep developing that they can’t be involved in three World Cups.
‘You need that experience of World Cups and when the Alun Wyn Jones of the world move on, you’ve got to have the next wave coming through.’
Josh Adams moves to centre, Alex Cuthbert plays his first Test since 2017 on the wing and Ellis Jenkins captains Wales this Sunday.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac is set to hand Tshiunza his debut against Fiji in Cardiff
Thomas Young will start at openside, remarkably the first time he has appeared at the Principality Stadium despite winning his first cap in 2017, with his three caps won in Auckland, Apia and Rome.
This will be the first time he has run out at the national stadium since he was a mascot for father Dai’s 50th cap in 2001.
‘That’s probably my earliest memory,’ said Young, who is allowed to start despite playing at Wasps after Pivac was granted special dispensation to pick him as he is returning to Cardiff next season.
‘It sticks in the memory, just how noisy it was.
‘I’m over the moon. A month ago I wouldn’t have expected this to happen.
‘I’m really excited about it and just want to take the opportunity as best I can.’