Friday, 26 April 2013

Familiar names pepper Welsh squad for Junior World Championships

Rhys Patchell and Tom Davies have been named in the Wales Under-20 squad for the IRB Junior World Championships in France having missed the Under-20 Six Nations through injury.

Head coach Danny Wilson has named an experienced 28-man squad for the competition, running from June 5–23, with eight of those who helped Wales to third place last year, and a first ever win over New Zealand at this level, again included.

Blues outside half Patchell, one of the most experienced Regional players in the squad with 21 appearances for the Blues, is the only uncapped player in the squad. Prop Davies represented Wales last season.

The rest of the squad played a part in almost taking Wales to a Grand Slam, but they fell at the final hurdle to England.

There is also plenty of Principality Premeirship experience in the squad too, with Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli fans in particular having plenty to look out for. Bedwas, Llandovery and Bridgend also provide a few names.

Wilson said: “A number of our players involved with their Regions came back into our squad during the Six Nations and played their part in the tournament, training and playing with the rest of the group, so we feel we are a more solid group this season.

“The players that are coming into the squad, Rhys Patchell and Thomas Davies, will add significant strength with Rhys having been a first choice player with the Blues this season.

“It’s an experienced group in terms of Under-20 rugby, and some players have had a significant amount of Regional rugby too, so on paper it’s a good squad. It’s going to need to be, because we have a tough group with Samoa, Scotland and Argentina.

“Argentina won all their pool games last year, beating France, Australia and Scotland and losing to eventual winners South Africa in the semis, and have just beaten South Africa 2-1 in a Test series.

“Samoa and Scotland will be very difficult matches too, so we will have to hit form to compete with and beat all those sides in order to qualify for the semis.

“That will be our aim – to reach the semis again, and anything can happen from that point.”

He believes the Junior World Championships provides a fantastic opportunity for players to step up to the next level.

“As we saw last season – when players perform well individually and contribute towards good collective performances at the Junior World Championship, it puts them in a good position to stake a claim for regular Regional rugby,” he added.

Wales’ Junior World Championships squad in full:
Forwards: Ellis Jenkins (captain, Blues/Cardiff), Nicky Smith (Ospreys/Swansea), Gareth Thomas (Scarlets/Carmarthen), Tom Davies (Blues/Cardiff), Dan Suter (Ospreys/Bridgend), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys/Swansea), Ethan Lewis (Blues/Cardiff), Elliot Dee (Dragons/Bedwas), Carwyn Jones (Scarlets/Carmarthen), Jack Jones (Ospreys/Rovigo), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys/Swansea), Ieuan Jones (Dragons/Newport), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets/Llanelli), Sion Bennett (Scarlets/Carmarthen), James Benjamin (Dragons/Bedwas).

Backs: Rhodri Williams (Scarlets/Llandovery), Joshua Davies (Dragons/Bedwas), Rhys Patchell (Blues/Cardiff), Sam Davies (Ospreys/Swansea), Cory Allen (Blues/Cardiff), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets/Llanelli), Jack Dixon (Dragons/Bedwas), Thomas Pascoe (Blues/Pontypridd), Harry Robinson (Blues/Cardiff), Aaron Warren (Llandovery), Ashley Evans (Ospreys/Bridgend), Jordan Williams (Scarlets/Llanelli), Hallam Amos (Dragons/Bedwas).

Wales’ JWC fixtures:
Wednesday June 5: Wales v Samoa (Nantes, 6pm).
Sunday June 9: Wales v Scotland (Nantes, 5pm).
Thursday June 13: Wales v Argentina (La Roche sur Yon, 4.45pm).
Play-off rounds: Tuesday 18 June, Sunday 23 June.


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