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Wales braced for noisy Tonga Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/06/2017

Wales' young stars have been backed to cope with an Eden Park cauldron of noise when they run out to face Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

The clash with the Pacific Island nation is the first of a two-Test summer tour for Robin McBryde's men, and with 14 uncapped players in their squad it is a chance for the next generation to impress.

Steffan Evans, Keelan Giles and Ollie Griffiths are just three men who could make their debut this week, with no doubts in the camp over their ability to play Test rugby.

"Training has been really good since we arrived in New Zealand and we've been doing double sessions on some days," said Wales assistant coach Gareth Williams.

"Competition within the camp has been fierce and there are a number of uncapped players who are in contention to win their first cap on Friday.

"There is a lot for us to think about as coaches and that reflects well on the squad. Playing at a venue like Eden Park will only be good for the development of these players and it will be exciting for us to see them out there. We're looking forward to seeing what they can produce."

Wales' clash with Tonga forms part of a double-header of fixtures and precedes New Zealand's game against Samoa.

A packed crowd is expected with the All Blacks - preparing for next week's first Test against Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions - in town.

Williams, who is working under head coach McBryde after replacing Danny Wilson, is looking forward to what the tourists can produce.

Wales are without 12 of their best players who are on Lions duty.

"We will see how they react and respond to that. Tonga will be a fantastic challenge for us and it doesn't get much more physical than facing them."

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