Wales U20 head coach Bryon Hayward has named his squad for the opening game against Ireland in Friday’s opening round of the Six Nations in Colwyn Bay. (KO 7pm, S4C)
The side will be led by Dragons back row Ryan Woodman who will provide the experience in a pack with will have seven new caps starting.
The backline has three players returning from the U20 Summer Series squad which reached the final against South Africa in Italy – full back Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby), winger Harri Houston (Ospreys) and fly half Dan Edwards.
Ospreys winger Llien Morgan, Dragons midfielder Harri Ackerman and Bath Rugby centre Louie Hennessey get their first taste of action at U20 level.
“By and large it is full strength squad,” said Hayward. “We’ve got three players who are injured in Morgan Morse, Bryn Bradley and Oli Andrew but we are in a good place and we’re looking forward to the game on Friday.
“Oli was probably one of our best players last season, but he’s out and Llien Morgan has come in and played exceptionally well against Poland and deserves his opportunity to start. I think we have a strong backline which is experienced at this level and provided we can get enough possession we can cause Ireland some problems.
“They will be a massive challenge as they are Grand Slam champions. Irish rugby is flourishing at the moment and has been for a number of years. But it is a challenge we are looking forward too. The reason you are in sport is because you want to play against the best and we face the best team first up.
“The boys did play some exceptional rugby against Poland and hopefully that translates to a few more ticket sales. I have no doubt the boys will be competitive this year and we are in a far better place than we were 12 months ago. We have a good preparation going into the championship and as a result I expect us to be competitive against everyone this year.”
Wales U20 v Ireland U20, Stadiwm CSM, Fri 3rd Feb, 7pmKO
15 Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)
14 Llien Morgan (Ospreys)
13 Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby)
12 Harri Ackerman (Dragons)
11 Harri Houston (Ospreys)
10 Dan Edwards (Ospreys)
9 Archie Hughes (Scarlets);
1 Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths (Dragons)
2 Sam Scarfe (Dragons)
3 Tomas Pritchard (Scarlets)
4 Liam Edwards (Ospreys)
5 Jonny Green (Harlequins)
6 Ryan Woodman (Dragons – CAPT)
7 Luca Giannini (Scarlets)
8 Huw Davies (Sale)
16 Isaac Young (Scarlets)
17 Freddie Chapman (Ospreys)
18 Ellis Fackrell (Ospreys)
19 Owain Evans (RGC)
20 Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby)
21 Harri Williams (Scarlets)
22 Harrison James (Cardiff Rugby)
23 Tom Florence (Ospreys)
Wales U20 Six Nations fixtures
Feb 3 – Wales v Ireland – Stadium CSM – 7pm
Feb 10 – Scotland v Wales – Scotstoun Stadium – 7.15pm
Feb 24 – Wales v England – Stadiwm CSM – 7.15pm
March 10 – Italy v Wales – Stadio Comunale Di Monito – 7.15pm
March 19 – France v Wales – State Charles-Mathon – 8pm