Wales have named their U18 side to take on France on Sunday afternoon at the Cardiff Arms Park, kicking off at 4.15pm.
Head Coach Chris Horsman has named five Welsh Exiles in the 23-man squad, with two in the starting fifteen.
Whitgift fly half Ed Dunford starts for Wales U18, four days before his school’s U18 Schools Cup final against Warwick on Thursday. Having guided them there on Saturday last week though, he will be bubbling with confidence.
Hartpury College’s Louis Rees-Zammit is back for a second year of U18 international rugby, he starts on the right wing.
On the bench, meanwhile, Eastbourne College skipper Theo Bevacqua will come on at tighthead, while RGS Worcester’s Thomas Matthews covers the outside backs alongside fellow Exiles Daniel John.
Speaking to www.wru.wales ahead of the game, Chris Horsman spoke extensively about the game and the U18 programme in general:
“At Under 18 level we’ve had some great results in the last few years. We’ve beaten England four times, we’ve beaten France, and we’ve beaten South Africa too, that hasn’t happened by chance. It has happened because the players have put in a lot of hard work and also because within our environment we have focused on ourselves. France won’t go away from the DNA that defines them as a rugby nation, but we will look at our camp only. “
“I have told the boys to go out and showcase the best age grade talent we have in Wales. Geraint and I always want to challenge the players. We want to play the game with tempo, at speed, and with ball in hand. We want to put our players into space as many times as possible. To do that you need high skill levels. That’s what we’ve been working on with the squad.”
“This year we have changed a few things in terms of the age grade programme. Geraint Lewis and I have been doing the Under 18s and Under 20s for the last few years and we have now decided to change the date of birth for eligibility from September 1 to January 1.”
“It means we now have a lot of younger players, but we also have an Under 19 team which means we have more players in the system overall. That can only be a good thing because it exposes more players to the system and the facilities we have.”
Wales U18 XV v France – Sunday, 4.15pm, Cardiff Arms Park
15 Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Blues), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Hartpury College & Exiles), 13 Mason Grady (Cardiff Blues), 12 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys, captain), 11 Carrick Modonough (Dragons), 10 Ed Dunford (Whitgift & Exiles), 9 Dylan Davies (Dragons), 1 Samuel O’Connor (Scarlets), 2 Oliver Burrows (Ospreys), 3 Iestyn Haskins (Cardiff Blues), 4 Rhys Anstey (Cardiff Blues), 5 Christ Tshiunza (Cardiff Blues), 6 Rhys Thomas (Ospreys), 7 Harri Deaves (Ospreys), 8 Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: 16 Rhodri King (Scarlets), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Eastbourne College & Exiles), 18 Lewys Jones (Ospreys), 19 Joe Peard (Dragons), 20 Harry Breeze (Scarlets), 21 Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues), 22 Thomas Matthews (RGS Worcester & Exiles), 23 Daniel John (Exiles).