Seven Eyasses named in Wales U20 team

Wales Under 20 head coach Danny Wilson has selected his starting line-up to kick-off the Under 20 Six Nations at Colwyn Bay on Friday night (7.10pm) against Mike Ruddock's Ireland Under 20 side, with seven young Ospreys included, five starting.

Sam Davies has been added to the Wales Under 20 Six Nations squad after recovering from injury to feature for the Ospreys in last weekend’s LV= Cup against Newport Gwent Dragons, reclaiming the No 10 jersey he wore during the Junior World Championship and Gareth starting on the bench.

Joining him in the starting line-up are wing Ashley Evans, props Nicky Smith and Nicky Thomas, and second row Rhodri Hughes, the three forwards also gaining first team regional experience this season. On the bench are a third young prop, Dan Suter, who was in the starting XV at Rodney Parade last Saturday, and second row Jack Jones, fresh from his loan experience in Italy with Rovigo.

Five players starting on Friday were part of the Wales Under 20 squad that finished third at the Junior World Championship last June, with three more members of that squad on the bench to face Ireland. In addition, scrum half Rhodri Williams played in last season’s Under 20 Six Nations.

Wilson said:

“On the basis of our training sessions so far, I would say this is our strongest available side, although we will learn more about the players from the matches themselves. Those playing on Friday are playing for a chance to hold onto their place against France next week.

“As we said last season, this is the starting point of our journey towards the Junior World Championship, but we are very keen to start well on Friday. Some of our squad are playing for their Regions this weekend, while others may be rested if they’ve played a lot of rugby recently or are carrying knocks.

“Ireland are a good side, they had a strong Six Nations and Junior World Championship last season, beating hosts South Africa and were unfortunate not to make the semi-finals. They are clearly well coached by Mike Ruddock and his team so we are well aware of the challenge they present but we are well prepared and will be going all out to start this tournament well.

“We are genuinely pleased to be returning to Colwyn Bay. We were bowled over last season by the welcome we were given by everyone involved, the facilities and the atmosphere generated by the fantastic crowd so we are looking forward to another great night at Eirias on Friday.”

Wales Under 20 v Ireland

Friday 1 February, 7.10pm, Eirias, Colwyn Bay

Dion Jones (Scarlets/ Llanelli); Ashley Evans (Ospreys/ Bridgend), Cory Allen (Blues / Cardiff), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets / Llanelli), Ashton Hewitt (Dragons / Newport); Sam Davies (Ospreys / Swansea), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets/ Llandovery); Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Swansea), Elliot Dee (Bedwas), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys / Swansea), Carwyn Jones (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys/ Swansea), Sion Bennett (Scarlets / Carmarthen), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets / Llanelli), Ellis Jenkins (capt, Blues / Cardiff)

Replacements: Ethan Lewis (Blues / Cardiff), Gareth Thomas (Scarlets / Carmarthen), Dan Suter (Ospreys / Bridgend), Jack Jones (Ospreys / Rovigo), James Benjamin (Bedwas), Joshua Davies (Dragons / Bedwas), Ethan Davies (Bedwas), Thomas Pascoe (Blues / Pontypridd)