Wales have named their side for their U20 6 Nations opener against Italy at Colwyn Bay on Friday evening, 7.35pm, live on S4C.
Millfield School star Dan John will start on the right wing, a remarkable achievement for a current school player. He will be joined in the 23 by a number of other players with English schools experience, Oakham old boy Sam Costelow is also in the backline, the Leicester Tiger starts at fly half.
The bench meanwhile sees another current school star selected in the form of Eastbourne College’s Theo Bevacqua who is set to come on alongside Marlborough College leaver Archie Griffin at prop. Ex Bryanston scrum half Ellis Bevan, not at Cardiff Met Uni, also waits in the wings alongside Worcester Warriors fly half, Luke Scully.
Experienced campaigner Jac Morgan of the Scarlets leads the side from the openside flank, he is joined in the back row by Cardiff Blues’ Ioan Davies and Ospreys’ Morgan Strong.
In the second row the experienced Jac Price of the Scarlets links up with Dragons’ Ben Carter, while in the front row Cardiff Blues’ Ben Warren joins Scarlets pair Callum Williams and Dom Booth.
Alongside Costelow in the half backs is a familiar partner in Dragons’ Dafydd Buckland, while in the centres are the experienced pair of Anuerin Owen of the Dragons and Scarlets’ Osian Knott. Joining John in the back three are Dragons’ Ewan Rosser on the left wing and Ospreys’ Josh Thomas at full back.
Joining the four already mentioned on the bench are Dragons’ Will Griffiths and the Ospreys trio of James Fender, Travis Huntley, and Bradley Roderick.
Speaking to www.wru.wales about his side, Head Coach Gareth Williams said:
“The returning boys gives us a good nucleus to work from and provides us a good spine throughout the side, it’s good to have that sort of experience going into a campaign and I know those players are ready to take on the mantle of being a senior player in what I think is an exciting squad. It’s great to have a group of returning players, while also blooding new players as we build towards the Junior World Cup later in the year.”
“As I’ve said before, last year was my first year as head coach of this age group and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing England and Ireland at Zipworld Stadium in front of a passionate crowd in Colwyn Bay. We can’t wait to kick off our Six Nations campaign, and are excited to get back up to North Wales where our home support has been outstanding over the years. We really enjoy playing in Colwyn Bay.”
“We’ve had a good period of player identification and skill development. But it’s always good to have a competitive element to our development programme. Italy will be a stern challenge, and we know we are going to face a difficult night. Italy played some good rugby in last year’s World Cup, and their U18’s were outstanding against our boys in their win in Gloucester last season. So our preparation and performance needs to be of a high standard.”
Wales U20 XV v Italy U20 – Friday, 7.35pm, Zipworld Stadium, Colwyn Bay (Live on S4C)
15 Josh Thomas (Ospreys), 14 Dan John (Millfield), 13 Osian Knott (Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Dragons), 11 Ewan Rosser (Dragons), 10 Sam Costelow (Leicester Tigers), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Dragons), 1 Callum Williams (Scarlets), 2 Dom Booth (Scarlets), 3 Ben Warren (Cardiff Blues), 4 Jac Price (Scarlets), 5 Ben Carter (Dragons), 6 Ioan Davies (Cardiff Blues), 7 Jac Morgan (Scarlets, captain), 8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys).
Replacments: 16 Will Griffiths (Dragons), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Blues), 18 Archie Griffin (Bath), 19 James Fender (Ospreys), 20 Travis Huntley (Ospreys), 21 Ellis Bevan (Cardiff Met Uni), 22 Luke Scully (Worcester Warriors), 23 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys).