Six Young Ospreys in Wales U18 team

Wales U18 play Scotland at St Helens tomorrow (Good Friday, 2.30pm) to kick off the inaugural U18 International Series, with six Eyasses included in the team.

Jordan Liney and Will Griffiths start, while Will Jones, Charlie Davies, Connor Tantum and Callum Carson are on the bench.

Italy and England are Wales’ other opponents over the Easter period, while Ireland are also in town.

Wales U18 have beaten France and lost by a point to England in the past month, but there are a number of new players involved this time around with the series using a slightly different age of eligibility.

Wales head coach Geraint Lewis said: “Playing three games in 12 days is a fantastic opportunity to give a new batch of players exposure to international rugby, and it also gives those who have been involved before a further chance to express themselves at this level.

“International rugby isn’t easy but the level of effort, preparation and concentration needed in a short space of time will only benefit them in the long term. It’s tough but it’s what we wanted to expose the players to.

“Every player will get a start during the course of the series, which will help their development and also lessen the physical demands of playing three games in close succession.”

Lewis has kept a level of consistency in his starting line-up for tomorrow’s game following the England friendly international a fortnight ago.

“It’s a mix of new players and boys who have been involved over the past two seasons.

“We know Scotland will offer a stern challenge and we are hoping that keeping some of the tried and tested combinations will bring some familiarity, help integrate the new players and help produce a good performance in the first game.

“There is a good pitch at Swansea but we will have the same intentions to play fast, attacking rugby whatever the weather, and we have also been working hard on our defensive play.”

Jim Botham, Harri Dobbs, Ben Thomas and Dane Blacker earn their first caps, while Leon Randell and Joe Goodchild make their first starts.

Wales team v Scotland:

Leon Randell (Scarlets/  Coleg Sir Gar); Joe Goodchild (Dragons/ Coleg Gwent/  Garndiffaith), Corey Baldwin (Scarlets/ Llandovery Coll), Ben Thomas (Blues/ Cardiff & Vale Coll, St Peters), Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets/ Coleg Sir Gar); Ben Jones (Blues/ Coleg y Cymoedd/ Treharris), Dane Blacker (Blues/Cymoedd / Pontypridd); Rhys Carre (capt, Blues/Cowbridge Comp) Jordan Liney (Ospreys/ Hartbury Coll/ Dunvant), Harri Dobbs (Blues/ Cowbridge/ St Peters ), Rhys Davies (Bath/ Millfield/ Exiles), Will Griffiths (Ospreys/ Gowerton Comp/ Gowerton), Lloyd Pike (Scarlets/ Sir Gar/ Llanelli Wanderers), Jim Botham (Sedbergh School/ Exiles). Morgan Morris (Hartpury/ Exiles)

Replacements: Iestyn Harris (Blues/ Ysgol y Cymer/  Wattstown), Josh Reynolds (Dragons/ Newport High/ NHSOB), Christian Coleman (Dragons/ Newport High/ Gardiffaith), Ben Sier (Blues/ Cymoedd/ Merthyr), Will  Jones (Ospreys/ Gower Coll/ Penclawdd), Charlie Davies (Ospreys/ Gowerton/ Gowerton), Connor Tantum (Ospreys/ Porthcawl/ Kenfig Hill), Callum Carson (Ospreys/ Gower Coll/ Gowerton), Gethin Gibby (Scarlets/ Sir Gar)


U18 International Series

Friday 25 March, St Helens, Swansea – Wales v Scotland (2.30pm)

Tuesday 29 March, Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach – Ireland v Scotland (5.15pm) and Wales v Italy (7.30pm)

Saturday 2 April, Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach – Italy v Ireland (11am), Scotland v England (1.30pm)

Wednesday 6 April, St Helens, Swansea – England A v Italy (2.30pm) and Wales v England (7.30pm).

Tickets available on the gate £5 adults, U16s free