Seven young Ospreys will feature in the Wales U18 squad competing in the FIRA-AER Justin Bridou Under 18 European Championship which gets underway in Madrid tomorrow, when Italy provide the first opposition.
Wales are seeded third for the tournament after beating France in the third place play-off in last year’s France-based competition.
WRU National Academy Coaching Manager Allan Lewis has taken on the head coach duties of the side, assisted by Ospreys Regional Performance Development Manager, Andrew Millward, and Dale McIntosh.
Depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s match against Italy (2.30pm), the youngsters will play either France or Scotland next Tuesday in either the semi-finals or the fifth to eighth place play-offs.
Only three of last year’s squad are still involved, although all three are front row players so team manager Gethin Watts is hoping they will help build a solid platform for some attacking play.
“It would be great to build on last year’s performances and we have started our international campaign well with a 19-12 away win in a friendly against Scotland” he said.
“We have a young squad with only Callum Lewis, Nicky Smith and Elliot Dee surviving from last year’s squad, but we will be looking to rely on their experience in the front row in order to form a strong platform up front to enable our backs to do some running.
“Centre Jack Dixon and full back Hallam Amos have already had senior regional game time with the Dragons, and wing Dafydd Howells is also an exciting player so we are hoping to create some good attacking play.”
Wales Under 18 squad for FIRA-AER Justin Bridou European Championship
Forwards: Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Guss McPherson (Blues), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Scott Otten (Ospreys), Callum Lewis (Blues), Nicky Thomas(Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Dragons), James Sheeky (Blues),Joshua Helps (Scarlets), Ethan Lewis (Blues), Benjamin Roach (Blues), Scott Matthews (Dragons), Calum Davies (Ospreys), James Benjamin (Dragons)
Backs: Luke Crane (Dragons), Shaune Clarke (Blues), Joel Raikes (Blues), Jack Maynard (Scarlets), Gareth Thomson (Blues), Dafydd Howells (Ospreys), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Ben Roberts (Ospreys), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets) Lewis
Hudd (Dragons), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Ashley Evans (Ospreys)