8 Young Ospreys named to face France

Wales head coach Chris Horsman has named his side to face France in the final fixture of the U18 International Series on Saturday at Hugenote High in Wellington. (KO 11.50am)

Horsman has made a number of changes to the side which drew with South Africa Schools A on Tuesday, but Dragons second row Ben Carter retains the captaincy as Wales look to finish the tournament on a winning note.

The Welsh camp may have failed to get a win in their two games of the series so far, but Horsman has been pleased with the progression the side has made.

"I was really pleased with the performance [against South Africa Schools A] and there were elements within the game that showed clear improvements from the opening game. The boys are getting better with every performance.

"We made a raft of changes to the team from the first game, so by the time we leave every player will have had match-time. The great thing for me, is that in the two games so far the boys have made 20 line breaks which is incredible while our defence was absolutely resolute in the last game.

"After we picked up the red card the boys really stepped up, especially in the dying stages when they were going for the win. The defence wasn’t reckless, but well drilled and organised."

Niggling injuries have hampered team selection for the final game of the series but Horsman has confidence in his team to finish the campaign in style.

"We’ve already beaten them at the Arms Park earlier this year. It’s clear from all the games being played out here that we are the only team endeavouring to play most of the rugby. If we focus on nailing the opportunities that come our way, then hopefully the boys can finish with a ‘w’."

While players like Mason Grady, who scored a stunning solo try in the last game, have caught the eye, Horsman prefers not to single out individuals for special attention.

"The team is the star, no doubt there are potentially players in the squad who will go on to play international rugby, but on this tour, to a man, every player has stepped up," he said.

Wales U18s v France U18s
Saturday August 17 2019 – Hugenote High, Wellington – KO 11.50am

15 Dan John (Exiles/Millfield)
14 Jake Thomas (Cardiff Blues/Cowbridge HS)
13 Mason Grady (Cardiff Blues/Glantaf/Bro Morgannwg)
12 Joe Hawkins (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College)
11 Morgan Richards (Dragons/Newport High School)
10 Tom Mathews (Northampton(Exiles)/Hartpury College)
9 Luke Davies (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar);
1 Kieran Stevens (Ospreys/Bridgend College)
2 Oliver Burrows (Ospreys/Millfield)
3 Archie Griffin (Bath(Exiles)/Marlborough)
4 James Fender (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College)
5 Ben Carter (Capt) (Dragons/Caldicot)
6 Travis Huntley (Ospreys/Bridgend College)
7 Alex Mann (Cardiff Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd)
8 Peter Vickers (Wasps (Exiles)/Newcastle-Under-Lyme)

16 Rhodri King (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar)
17 Theo Bevacqua (Harlequins(Exiles)/Eastbourne College)
18 Lewys Jones (Ospreys/Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera)
19 Christ Tshiunza (Exeter(Exiles)/Whitchurch HS)
20 Rhys Thomas (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College)
21 Ollie Howard (Dragons/Tredegar)
22 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys/Neath/Port Talbot College)
23 Jake Morgan (Dragons/Lewis Pengam)
24 Carrick McDonough (Dragons/Cross Keys College)
25 Ben Burnell (Cardiff Blues/Gartholwg)