Wales Under 20 head coach Jason Strange has included seven Eyasses in his 28-man squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship next month.
- Adam Beard, Joe Gage, Keelan Giles, Joe Thomas, Reuben Morgan Williams, Kieran Williams and Tom Williams named in Jason Strange's squad
- This year's U20 Championship is in Manchester (June 7 – 25)
- Wales face Georgia, Ireland and New Zealand
Adam Beard is the only Ospreys forward included, but he is joined by six backs; this years Most Improved Elite Youth Development Player, Reuben Morgan Williams, Kieran Williams, Joe Thomas, Tom Williams, Keelan Giles and Joe Gage.
The WRU and the Ospreys have agreed that centre Owen Watkin, this season’s young player of the year at the region, will undergo a period of rest and rehab following the rugby season and partake in a full pre-season in order to allow him to train at full intensity next season and reach his full potential.
The side swept all before them to clinch a first Six Nations Grand Slam at this age group, but Strange knows the competition will step up a gear in Manchester (June 7 – 25).
Lock Seb Davies, hooker Liam Belcher, back row Josh Macleod and wing Tom Williams have all returned to full fitness in order to boost the squad that produced a series of memorable performances in the spring, and Strange is confident the togetherness in the squad can only build in the coming weeks.
“It was a tough selection process,” said Strange. “It was difficult to cut a squad that had performed so well in the Six Nations, but the players coming back in certainly add an extra dimension.
“It’s good to get the players back into training and they are confident on the back of a major achievement in winning the Six Nations.
“We will certainly need to step up a level in order to compete with the top nations at the World Rugby U20 Championship, and the exciting part is that the coaches and players all feel we can improve by an extra 20 or 30%, so if we get that right, we have the opportunity to do well, and we will be working hard over the next six weeks to get that right.
“It’s a huge honour for the players to represent their country at a global tournament and we want to ensure they do themselves justice and enjoy every moment.”
Wales have Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand in Pool A of the England-based tournament.
“Although we beat Ireland in Dublin, they made significant improvements during the tournament and beat England away from home," added Strange. "Georgia have improved enormously at age grade level, earning their place in this tournament by winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy, beating Canada in the final last year, while playing champions New Zealand is exactly the kind of test we want in order to develop our players to their full potential.”
All of Wales’ World Rugby U20 matches will be televised by S4C.
Wales’ World Rugby U20 Championship squad:
Forwards: Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Liam Belcher (Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues), Josh Macleod (Scarlets)
Backs: Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), George Gasson (Dragons), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys)
Wales' World Rugby Under 20 Championship fixtures:
7th June (17.30) Wales v Ireland Manchester City Academy Stadium
11th June (15.45) Wales v Georgia Manchester City Academy Stadium
15th June (17.30) New Zealand v Wales AJ Bell Stadium