Wales Under 18 head coach, and Ospreys Skills Coach, Gruff Rees has invited 52 players - including 15 Eyasses - to partake in a month-long Wales Under 18 development programme before narrowing down his squad for the forthcoming Under 18 international season.
The group is representative of all of Wales, with 14 Blues, ten Scarlets and eight Dragons also in the squad, along with five players from the North Wales Development Region called up to the first training session.
Rees said, "We have developed a very inclusive programme for January when we will deliver four on and off-the-field sessions for this larger Under 18 group to benefit from the coaching and expertise. It is a national programme to develop a wider group of players than just the 32 required for our games. We hope all of the selected 52 will benefit greatly from the programme, improving them as players for their clubs and Regions and even those not selected in this season's Wales Under 18 squad will have things to work on and could well come back stronger for next year's Wales Under 18 or Under 20 squads.
"The sessions will include skills workshops, with Rob Appleyard and Andrew Millward passing down the themes and practices of the other National Squads when it comes to defence and the set-piece, while I will be able to do the same with kicking and attacking. We will also cover off-the-field education such as dietary advice, some psychological work and conditioning information."
George North and Tom Prydie played a full part in last season's Under 18 programme and Rees added:
"A lot of the analysis of players at this age centres around how they deal with the pressures of the game, both on and off the field. If players develop quickly both in a rugby sense and mentally, there is no reason they can't progress through the ranks as others have done in recent years."
Wales Under 18 training squad:
Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Sam Davies (Ospreys), Alex Schwartz (North Wales Academy), Ben Thomas (Ospreys), Josh Davies (Dragons), Rhys Patchell (Blues), Luke O'Brien (Blues), Lewis Barker (North Wales Academy), Josh Guy (Dragons), Dominic Franchy (Dragons), Thomas Pascoe (Blues), Ryan Evans (Blues), Cory Allen (Blues), Aaron Evans (Scarlets), Jordan Williams (Scarlets), Ben Roberts (Ospreys), Ryan Evans (Ospreys), Luke Treharne (Scarlets), Rhys Williams (Ospreys), Jack Randell (Scarlets), Adam Wellington (Ospreys), Thomas Ashmead (Dragons), Owen Jenkins (Blues), Dion Jones (North Wales Academy).
Gareth Thomas (Scarlets), Evan Yardley (Ospreys), Daniel Suter (Ospreys), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Tom Owen (Ospreys), Thomas Davies (Blues), Jack Dando (Blues), Daniel Goode (Dragons), Joe Simpson, (North Wales Academy), Jac Hopkins (Blues), Bradley Thyer (Blues), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys), Jack Jones (Ospreys), Sion Bennett (Scarlets), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets), Matthew Jenkins (Ospreys), Benjamin Roach (Blues), Jordan Sienawski(Blues), Ellis Jenkins (Blues), Ieuan Jones (Dragons), James Benjamin (Dragons), Lewis Young (Blues), Emyr Wililams (Ospreys), Jamie Grundy (North Wales Academy), Dyfed Morgan (Scarlets), Carwyn Jones (Scarlets)
Wales Under 18 fixtures 2011:
Thursday 3 Feb 2011 East v West Swansea RFC 7pm
Sunday 6 March Wales v France Swansea RFC 2.30pm
Sunday 13 March Italy v Wales Parabiago KO tbc
Sunday 10 April 2011 Wales v Scotland Swansea RFC 2.30pm
For further information, contact Liz Jones tel 07736 056669 / firstname.lastname@example.org