Wales U20s have named 12 young Ospreys in their squad for the upcoming Six Nations Campaign. The largest representation in the 38-man team.
Wales U20 head coach Byron Hayward's squad comprises 21 forwards and 17 backs and includes 10 players who played in last year’s championship at Cardiff Arms Park.
Ospreys forwards include Cameron Jones, Ellis Fackrell, Lewis Jones, Benji Williams and Morgan Morse. Included in the backs, representing the Ospreys are Harvey Nash, Daniel Edwards, Joe Hawkins, Callum Dodd, Tom Florence, Harri Houston and Iestyn Hopkins.
“If I can compare it with years gone by, we’ve managed to have hit outs against two Premiership sides [Swansea and Ebbw Vale] so in terms of preparation it has been going really well,” said Hayward.
“You’ll never be entirely happy and satisfied as a coach as you always want more time but I think we’re in a decent place going into Ireland next week.”
Hayward believes the experience of the returning group of players will play a major role in his plans as he plots the campaign ahead.
“They’ll be massive because that second year, and not just from a playing point of view, but from a maturity point of view as well, is massive. There’s quite a big allocation coming back and we’ll be looking to those boys to step up which they already have done, in fairness,” he said.
Hayward says the coaching staff are giving the players a license to express themselves and don’t want to over burden them with structures and systems.
“I’m really excited and enthusiastic about our backs – if we can provide enough possession for our backs we’ll do some serious damage,” he said. “Our strength will be playing a game that is not structured, counter-attack and turnover ball and keeping the tempo of the game very high.”
With Wales finishing fourth in their last campaign, Hayward is determined his young side are not taking part to just make up the numbers this time round.
“Our expectations are to go out and win every game we play, and I cannot see any reason why we can’t do that with the talent we have," he said.
Wales U20 Six Nations squad:
Rhys Barratt (Cardiff Rugby)
Cameron Jones (Ospreys)
Joe Cowell (Cardiff Met)
Connor Chapman (Dragons)
Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby)
Morgan Veness (Ealing Trailfinders)
Lewis Morgan (Scarlets)
Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby)
Ellis Fackrell (Ospreys)
Adam Williams (Dragons)
Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs)
Alexander Ashton (Cardiff University)
Joe Peard (Dragons)
Lewis Jones (Ospreys)
Benji Williams (Ospreys)
Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – CAPT)
Ryan Woodman (Dragons)
Tom Cowan (Bath)
Ethan Fackrell (Cardiff
Morgan Morse (Ospreys)
Ben Moa (Dragons)
Harri Williams (Scarlets)
Morgan Lloyd (Dragons)
Harvey Nash (Ospreys)
Jac Lloyd (Bristol Bears)
Daniel Edwards (Ospreys)
Josh Phillips (Scarlets)
Joe Hawkins (Ospreys)
Eddie James (Scarlets)
Bryn Bradley (Harlequins)
Callum Dodd (Ospreys)
Tom Florence (Ospreys)
Oli Andrew (Dragons)
Joshua Hathaway (Scarlets)
Harri Houston (Ospreys)
Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)
Iestyn Hopkins (Ospreys)
Joe Westwood (Dragons)
Wales U20 fixtures
Fri 4 Feb – Ireland U20 v Wales U20, Musgrave Park – 8pm
Fri 11 Feb – Wales U20 v Scotland U20 – Parc Eirias – 8pm
Fri 25 Feb – England U20 v Wales U20 – Castle Park – 7pm
Thurs 10 March – Wales U20 v France U20 – Parc Eirias – 8pm
Sun 20 March – Wales U20 v Italy U20 – Parc Eirias – 2pm
Tickets available at: www.venuecymru.co.uk for home games