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Blues Academy and Wales Under 20 captain counting on North Wales support

1st February 2013

Four Cardiff Blues players named in the Wales under 20 side to face Ireland under 20

Blues Academy and Wales Under 20 captain Ellis Jenkins insists there are leaders throughout his side as they get ready to take on Ireland in the Under 20 Six Nations on Friday night (7.10pm). The clash at Eirias, Colwyn Bay will see head coach Danny Wilson combine a number of familiar faces with some exciting young talent as Wales look to get off to a winning start.

"It's a huge honour to lead your country," said Blues back row man Jenkins.

"It's added pressure but at the end of the day you go out there to play your own game and try to lead by example.

"There are quite a few players who were part of our team that beat New Zealand in June and that experience is invaluable. Some of the boys will help me out with the talking too so I'm certainly not alone."

Head coach Wilson is keen to build on Wales' impressive third place finish at the Junior World Championship, but stresses this is very much a new pathway towards this year's IRB competition.

"We will be putting everything we can into winning this game, and every other game in the Six Nations. However, the big picture is the Junior World Championship and we must ensure we have the best possible chance of being competitive when we go to France in June."

The return to Colwyn Bay is very much a welcome one for coaches and players alike.

"We are genuinely pleased to be returning to Eirias," added Wilson. "We were bowled over last season by the welcome we were given by everyone involved, the facilities and the atmosphere generated by the fantastic crowd so we are looking forward to another great night."

Jenkins said: "Colwyn Bay was an unknown to most of us at the start of last season but the way the crowd got behind us gave us a huge lift whenever we needed it and we hope the supporters will really get behind us again on Friday."

The Ireland Under 20 side is coached by former Wales coach Mike Ruddock and will have a point to prove after missing out on the Junior World Championship semi-finals in June despite a win over hosts South Africa.

Wales Under 20 v Ireland
Friday 1 February, 7.10pm, Eirias, Colwyn Bay Dion Jones (Scarlets/ Llanelli); Ashley Evans (Ospreys/ Bridgend), Cory Allen (Blues / Cardiff), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets / Llanelli), Ashton Hewitt (Dragons / Newport); Sam Davies (Ospreys / Swansea), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets/ Llandovery); Nicky Smith (Ospreys / Swansea), Elliot Dee (Bedwas), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys / Swansea), Carwyn Jones (Scarlets/ Carmarthen), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys/ Swansea), Sion Bennett (Scarlets / Carmarthen), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets / Llanelli), Ellis Jenkins (capt, Blues / Cardiff)

Replacements: Ethan Lewis (Blues / Cardiff), Gareth Thomas (Scarlets / Carmarthen), Dan Suter (Ospreys / Bridgend), Jack Jones (Ospreys / Rovigo), James Benjamin (Bedwas), Joshua Davies (Dragons / Bedwas), Ethan Davies (Bedwas), Thomas Pascoe (Blues / Pontypridd)