After the Eyasses U16's were crowned Regional Age Grade Champions at the end of February, eight young Ospreys from that squad will get a taste of international rugby this week as the Welsh Schools Under 16s embarks on a programme that will see them face opposition from four different nations.
They take on Canada Under 17 in a friendly at Rodney Parade tomorrow evening (Wed, 7.15pm) before traveling to Wellington College in Berkshire where they will play USA Under 17, France Under 16, England Under 16 and England South Under 16.
The youngsters named in the squad come from schools right across Ospreylia, but a special mention goes to Maesydderwen in Ystradgynlais, who count Adam Jones among their former pupils, as they provide three players to the squad.
Included for the forthcoming fixtures are forwards Harrison Walsh (Bishop Gore), Lewis Kirby (Pencoed), Adam Beard (Birchgrove) and Callum Bowden (Bryn Tawe), along with backs Luke Price (Maesydderwen), Joseph Thomas (Morriston), Adam Green Maesydderwen) and Martyn Davies (Maesydderwen).
Coach Euros Evans said:
“Of course we want to win our games, and demonstrate the quality we have in Wales at this age group, but a key element of international rugby at this age group is to develop players for the future. Part of that is to develop talent, but another part of the process is to determine whether these players have the aptitude to learn and be coached and that is part and parcel of what we are doing this season.
“These games will give us a chance to look at combinations and see how players progress in a competitive environment, leading up to our one capped game of the season, which is the game against England Under 16.
“The Regional Age Grade Championship has once again been instrumental in selecting this squad, we are lucky in Wales to have that competition as it is a breeding ground for developing and identifying talent as far as we are concerned.
“We are looking forward to playing Canada. As always, they will be a physical challenge that will provide the players with their toughest challenge yet.”
Welsh Schools Under 16 team v Canada Under 17 (Wednesday 4 April, 7.15pm, adults £3, Under 16s £1)
J Whittingham; R Singer, J Thomas (vice-capt), T Morgan, E W Benham; D Jones, K Hardy; H Walsh, H Roberts, D Lewis, J Davies, A Beard, J Viggers, C Randall, T Phillips (capt)
Replacements: L Belcher, R Lewis, K Bale, R Morgan, J Middleton, M Marley, C Brace, L Price, C Sheedy, M Davies
Wellington International Festival
Saturday 7th April, 5.00pm
Wales U16 v USA U17
Monday 9th April, 10.30am
Wales U16 v France U16
Wednesday 11th April, 2.00pm
England U16 v Wales U16
Friday 13th April, 1.00pm
England South U16 v Wales U16