Seven young Ospreys will travel to New Zealand this summer as part of the national U20 squad for the 2014 Junior World Championship.
The Eyasses - Scott Otten, Nicky Smith, Nicky Thomas, Rory Thornton, Luke Price, Dafydd Howells and Ashley Evans - are part of an experienced 28 man travelling party named by head coach, Byron Hayward, for the tournament that runs between June 2nd and 20th.
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, said:
"We are proud to once again have such a strong representation in the national U20 squad. Of the seven Eyasses included in the squad, five have already made the step up to represent the Ospreys at senior level, a sixth has gained significant national experience on the sevens circuit, while the seventh has been a regular at Premiership level.
"Our commitment to developing local young talent is unquestionable. Over the last 11 years our contribution to the national cause is unequalled, and that commitment to development from within is integral to our ongoing sustainability and our future success. We wish all seven of our players, and the rest of the Wales U20 squad, a successful summer in New Zealand."
All selected players in the squad have experience at international U20 level, gained primarily during this year's Six Nations with ten players having been part of Wales' squad that reached the final last season and two players, Howells and Hallam Amos having already been capped at senior level.
The players involved in last year's successful season who are heading to Auckland are props Thomas and Smith, hookers Elliot Dee and Ethan Lewis, back row James Benjamin, centres Steffan Hughes (captain), Jack Dixon and Harri Evans and Ashley Evans and Hallam Amos.
Hayward, whose side will play Scotland in a warm-up game on Wednesday 14 May at The Brewery Field said:
"We're happy with the strength in depth we built during the Six Nations through ensuring everyone got a decent amount of game time in order to develop at this level and stake a claim for a place in this squad.
"We've said from the start that the Junior World Championship is the main focus of our season and to that end, all of the management team were keen to arrange a warm-up game in order to arrive in New Zealand raring to go from Day One.
"We play Fiji, Ireland and France in our Pool so the game against Scotland will help us to try out some of our game plans in a match situation.
"Having reviewed our Six Nations performances, we can be happy with our performance against Ireland, where our set-piece was key in grinding out an important win in Athlone, we lost to France, the other Six Nations team in our JWC pool, by one score and we were down to 14 men for 20 minutes in that game. We learned a lot of lessons in that match and if we get the tactical game right and the players adapt to the opposition in front of them, we certainly have a chance against all the teams in our group.
"Our aim is to get through to the semi-finals and as we all know from our win over South Africa in last year's semi, anything is possible at that point. It will be a different challenge playing in New Zealand, hence travelling a couple of days early and thinking about the consequences of having to fly players out in case of injury but we have built that into our selection as much as possible.”
Wales Under 20 Junior World Championship squad 2014:
Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Luke Garrett (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys), Callum Lewis (Blues), Benjamin Leung (Scarlets), Ethan Lewis (Blues), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Scott Otten (Ospreys), Joe Davies (Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Dragons), Will Boyde (Carmarthen), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Scott Matthews (Dragons), Ben Roach (Blues) James Benjamin (Dragons)
Tom Williams (Blues), Luc Jones, Angus O'Brien (both Dragons), Luke Price (Ospreys), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Harri Evans (RGC), Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Joshua Adams (Scarlets), Dafydd Howells, Ashley Evans (both Ospreys), Hallam Amos (Dragons)