Eight young Ospreys have been selected for Wales U18 squad for their forthcoming international series.
Ospreys Skills Coach Gruff Rees, in his role as Wales U18 Head Coach, has selected 30 players from the 52 who were invited to be involved in a national development programme throughout January.
In addition to the Eyasses named, the final squad includes eleven Blues, along with five Scarlets, three Dragons, two players from the WRU North Wales academy and one Welsh Exile, Stephen Reynolds of Hartbury College.
Rees said, “We have a healthy mix within the squad. We carried out a comprehensive talent identification programme before Christmas, using the WRU Regional Under 18 Championship games. We then had the luxury of inviting over 50 players to our national development programme throughout January where we were able to put in place some national themes and structures and increase players’ tactical understanding and skills levels as well as provide off the field advice and support.
“We want to create an environment whereby our players have a good level of physicality but they can also make decisions about whether to run, pass or kick when the field opens up. We have some good footballers in the squad and we’d like to give them the opportunity to express themselves.”
The squad will now train together over the next few weeks before heading to Leicester for a training camp and match against Leicester Academy, before preparing for their internationals, starting with France at St Helens on March 6.
Rees has chosen Blues captain Ellis Jenkins as his captain for the campaign.
He added, “Ellis was an obvious choice as captain. He led the Blues to the Regional title superbly, he is extremely disciplined with his own preparation and he certainly leads by example both on and off the field.”
Backs: Rhodri Williams (Scarlets/ Llandovery / Amman Valley Comp), Alex Schwartz (North / Mold / Mold Alun Comp), Josh Davies (Dragons / Llandovery Coll), Sam Davies (Ospreys / Gorseinon / Gowerton Comp), Rhys Patchell (Blues/ CRICC / Glantaf), Thomas Pascoe (Blues / Mountain Ash / Coleg Morgannwg), Ryan Evans (Blues / Tonyrefail / Tonyrefail Comp), Jordan Williams (Scarlets / Llanelli / Coleg Sir Gar), Ben Roberts (Ospreys / Gorseinon / Gower Coll), Ryan John Evans (Ospreys / Bryncoch / Ystalyfera), Jake Randall (Scarlets / Ammanford / Amman Valley), Owen Jenkins (Blues / Ynysybwl / Pontypridd High), Stephen Reynolds (Hartpury Coll), Cory Allen (Blues / Glam Wands / Y Fro), Dion Jones (WRU NW Academy / Nantconwy / Rydal Penrhos)
Forwards: Thomas Davies (Blues / Ystrad Rhondda/ Ferndale Community School), Daniel Suter (Ospreys / Tonmawr / Neath Port Talbot Coll), Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Gower College), Bradley Thyer (Blues / Ystrad Rhondda / Ferndale), Evan Yardley (Ospreys / Bridgend Athletic / Brynteg), Elliot Dee (Dragons / Penallta / Newbridge Comp), Jack Dando (Blues / Penygraig / Coleg Morgannwg), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys / Hendy / Gwyr), Jack Jones (Ospreys / Llandovery Coll), Llewelyn Jones (Scarlets/ Haverfordwest / Thomas Picton Comp), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets / Kidwelly / Bro Myrddin), Jordan Sienawski (Blues / Llantwit Fardre / Bridgend Coll), Ellis Jenkins (Blues / Llantwit Fardre / Bryncelynog), Ieuan Jones (Dragons / Bargoed Youth), Lewis Young (Blues/ Coleg Morgannwg)