Wales Sevens head coach Richie Pugh has announced the training squad that will prepare for the 2018/19 World Rugby Sevens Series, including four young Ospreys.
A large number of the most promising young players in Welsh rugby will complement a core group of experienced sevens players, with the series opening on December 1st with the iconic tournament in Dubai.
In alignment with all four regions plus the Wales U20 programme – the latter now overseen by former sevens head coach Gareth Williams – players such as Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), Taine Basham (Dragons), Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues) and Dewi Cross (Ospreys) will feature in selected tournaments throughout the season.
Pugh says that having a 24-man squad will ensure there is a drive for competition as Wales compete on the world's premier rugby sevens circuit. "There's a fresh look to the squad and a lot of excitement for the series ahead," says Pugh, a World Cup Sevens winner in 2009. "We've got over 20 players all pushing each other over three weeks, driving standards.
"Exposure to the sevens environment, where players’ skills are tested under pressure on the world stage, is great for player development. Our aim is to help produce future regional and international players through the WRU pathway, and we're looking to build on the success we've already had in doing that."
The Ospreys quartet have all featured for the senior team at the Region during 2018, Reuben Morgan-Williams leading the way in terms of appearances, with five tries in 13 games, ahead of Dewi Cross with one try in four games, while Callum Carson and Dylan Moss have both featured once.
The sevens has a strong track record in developing future international players. Most recently, two core sevens players have been selected in Warren Gatland's autumn series squads. Luke Morgan is the latest, Wales Sevens' top try-scorer having impressed during his time with the Ospreys this year, scoring four tries in six games, following in the footsteps of current regional teammate Sam Cross, who was capped in last season's Under Armour Series.
Core Players: Afon Bagshaw, Cai Devine, Joe Jenkins, Owen Jenkins, Jay Jones, Ben Roach, Luke Treharne, Mike Wilson. Cardiff Blues: Dane Blacker, Corey Howells, Ben Jones, Dafydd Smith. Dragons: Taine Basham, George Gasson, Joe Goodchild, Will Talbot-Davies. Ospreys: Callum Carson, Dewi Cross, Dylan Moss, Reuben Morgan-Williams. Scarlets: Corey Baldwin, Ryan Conbeer, Dan Davis, Tomi Lewis.