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Blues Lead Wales Age Grade Teams

29th March 2006

Wales Under 19s face the awesome New Zealanders in their first World Cup group game on 5 April, before playing Scotland and Romania.

The side is captained by Cardiff Blues lock Bradley Davies, one of three players remaining from last year's squad.

"Just as last year we have a brutally physical start against New Zealand," said team manager Cled Edwards.

"They will have their usual complement of South Sea islanders and we know how hard it is going to be, but we've got a strong 26-man squad."

Wales finished sixth last year following an opening-game 25-8 loss to New Zealand.

Luke Ford, the son of eight-times capped wing and Arms Park favourite Steve Ford, will captain Wales Under-18 when they play France at Aberavon RFC on Friday night (7.00pm).

The St Davids and Blues centre will lead the side in a match that is a key part of the build-up to the Under-18 Four Nations Tournament in the West Country next month.

"We have been together for a few months now and the development of the squad has gone really well," said Rowland Phillips, the Wales Under-18 Head Coach.

"We played the French Regions and English Regions before going to Italy and winning 18-13 and this game against France will complete our preparations for the Under-18 Four Nations Tournament in April.

"With each game we have seen improvements and a better understanding of what we are trying to teach these young players."

Wales will open their challenge for the Four Nations Tournament title against Scotland in Gloucester before playing Ireland and England.

Wales Under-18 v France Under-18: Daniel Evans (Scarlets); Leigh Halfpenny (Ospreys), Luke Ford (Blues, captain), Rhys Williams (Scarlets), Jason Tovey (Dragons); James Thomas (Blues), Gareth Williams (Blues); Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Ben Roberts (Dragons), Patrick Palmer (Blues), Hadyn Pugh (Scarlets), Kyle Maiden (Ospreys), Jevon Groves (Blues), Nick Cudd (Scarlets), Sam Warburton (Blues).
Replacements: Huw Dowden (Blues), Phil Price (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Blues), Jon Jones (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Phil Williams (Blues), Gruff Jones (Scarlets).