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Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde thinks Keelan Giles will take his chance

Published 18/11/2016

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde has praised teenage wing Keelan Giles ahead of his possible Test debut on Saturday
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde has praised teenage wing Keelan Giles ahead of his possible Test debut on Saturday

Teenager Keelan Giles has been backed to seize his opportunity if he features for Wales in Saturday's Principality Stadium clash against Japan.

The uncapped 18-year-old wing is likely to gain a run at some point from the replacements' bench, with an expected 74,500 capacity crowd ready to greet him.

Giles has commanded rave reviews for his Ospreys performances this season, scoring eight tries in five games during his debut campaign of top-flight rugby.

Comparisons have already been made between him and Wales' record international try-scorer Shane Williams, given the striking similarities of searing pace and dazzling footwork.

"He has impressed everyone in training, not only on the field but off the field as well," Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde said, as the match-day 23 completed preparations under the stadium's closed roof on Friday.

"He is quite composed, so if he does get the opportunity, I am sure he will be taking it with both hands."

Wales boss Rob Howley has made 10 changes following last Saturday's hard-fought victory over Argentina, with four players - centre Jamie Roberts, wing Alex Cuthbert, prop Samson Lee and flanker Dan Lydiate - being recalled after a 32-8 drubbing by Australia seven days earlier.

And with South Africa looming in next week's autumn finale, McBryde has underlined the importance of another strong performance this weekend.

"The challenge for this group of players is to build on the performance last week against Argentina," he added.

"We all know what is ahead of us next week with regards to South Africa, and places are up for grabs.

"Tomorrow will be about how well this team gels together and hopefully puts a performance up in front of a full house.

"There are certain things that we need to improve on after the Argentina game, and this is their opportunity tomorrow.

"I think the team against Argentina certainly laid down the gauntlet with regards to that performance, and the message has been clear to this group of players tomorrow that they have got to build on that.

"Nobody is safe, nobody is assured of their position, so hopefully tomorrow we will see this group of players go out with the bit between their teeth and with a point to prove."

Japan have conceded a total of 289 points on their four previous Cardiff visits to face Wales, and while memories remain fresh of their staggering World Cup triumph against South Africa last year, the current squad is one currently in transition under new head coach Jamie Joseph.

But the Brave Blossoms showcased their attacking ability by beating Georgia from limited possession last Saturday, and McBryde added: "We need to be accurate in everything we do. We can't afford to give Japan any loose ball.

"If we are accurate in what we do, focus on the things that we've done in training and bring that to the game tomorrow, we are not going to be far away.

"It is a different challenge. They showed how dangerous they can be with loose ball against Georgia, and we have got to be aware of that.

"For us, there was a level of performance against Argentina that was a reaction to a poor one against Australia, and we are looking to build this week."

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