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Burnell returns from injury as Cardiff Blues under-18 take on Scarlets

Pathway | 20th January 2020

Ben Burnell returns to the Cardiff Blues under-18 side as they continue their WRU Age Grade Championship with a trip to take on Scarlets on Tuesday.

The first block of fixtures in August and September saw the young Cardiff Blues side open their campaign with impressive victories over Dragons and RGC, but suffered defeat on the road against Ospreys.

Following four months of WRU Schools and Colleges League action, Aled James and Craig Everett’s side will look to get their season back on track as they take on top-of-the-table, Scarlets, who maintained a 100 per cent record in the first block of games.

Burnell is one of 10 academy members included in the starting line-up and returns to the number 10 jersey for the first time since the defeat to Ospreys, having been out of action with a shoulder injury.

15 players from the matchday 23 featured for Coleg y Cymoedd in last week’s WRU Schools and Colleges League final against Coleg Gwent, including the centre partnership of McCauley Rowley and Ryan Wilkins and scrum half Harvey Nash.

Oliver James lines up at full back, with Jake Thomas and Theo Cabango named on the wings. 

Number eight Evan Lloyd captains the side at Parc y Scarlets, joining Ethan Fackrell and Alex Mann in the back row.

Rhys Anstey, who recently penned an academy deal with the region, links up with Cai James in the second row, with the front row trio of Ellis Fackrell, Efan Daniel and Nathan Evans completing the pack.

Joint head coach Everett said: “We’re really excited to get back underway for the second round of fixtures.

“On the whole, our first block of games were really positive, and despite a defeat in that final game against Ospreys, we’ve been able to take real positives from those games.

“It’s been great to see the boys playing well for their respective schools and colleges in the league, and we’re confident they can bring their form and confidence into this side for a crucial few weeks of rugby.

“Four of the top six teams in that league were from the Cardiff Blues region, and that’s something we can all be proud of.

“It’ll be a tough challenge up at Parc y Scarlets, no doubt. They had a strong first block in September but it’s a challenge that our boys will be relishing.

“A number of our boys have been training with the Cardiff Blues academy over the last few months, and hopefully they will reap the rewards of training in that environment.

“It’s also great to welcome Ben back into the side. He had a nasty shoulder injury in the match against Ospreys in September, but is fit and firing and ready to get back into rugby.”

The under-18 side will be back in action on Sunday, as they head up the A470 to take on RGC, before welcoming Dragons to Cardiff Arms Park next Wednesday.

Cardiff Blues under-18: Oliver James; Jake Thomas, McCauley Rowley, Ryan Wilkins, Theo Cabango; Ben Burnell, Harvey Nash; Ellis Fackrell, Efan Daniel, Nathan Evans, Cai James, Rhys Anstey, Alex Mann, Ethan Fackrell, Evan Lloyd (capt.)

Replacements: Harrison Chapman, Corben Evans, Rhys Barratt, Rhys Dauncey, Gwilym Evans, Will O’Connor, Tyler Morris, Cameron Winnett