Four Cardiff Rugby youngsters have been included in the Wales squad for the U20 Six Nations.
Gwilym Evans, Mackenzie Martin, Harrison James and Cameron Winnett have all been included in Byron Hayward’s 36-man championship squad.
There are also places for former Cardiff pathway players Jack Davies, Tom Caple and Louis Hennessy, who have now moved onto other clubs.
Academy and Pathway Manager, Gruff Rees said: “We’re all really pleased for Gwil, Mackenzie, Harrison and Cam, while we're also pleased to see Craig Everett as defence coach. It is a culmination for a good couple of years’ development for them and they now have a great opportunity to represent their country.
“We would normally have a few more boys involved but it’s probably a reflection of our senior succession planning coming out of Covid and lockdown, and having less academy players around the squad.
“Jac Davies, Tom Caple and Louis Hennessey, who we know very well, have all been part of our pathway and it’s great to see them also gain recognition.
“We’re now looking forward to a strong Under-18s programme, who will form the next contingent of senior academy and Under-20s.
Dragons back row Ryan Woodman will captain the side and Hayward believes he has selected a strong squad for the campaign which sees Wales host Ireland at Stadiwm CSM next Friday in the opening round of matches.
“It is the strongest squad we could have picked because of recruitment,” he said. “Our identification of this squad has been really thorough since last September and we're in a totally different place to where we were 12 months ago.
“I’ve watched virtually every game these boys have played from September this season either by footage or watching the games. We’ve also had workshops plus we had a match against Scotland pre-Christmas and then we had Poland and we’ve also had two hit-outs against Cardiff Met and Pontypool in the last couple of weeks so preparation wise I think we're in a good place.
“We are inexperienced up front in the front five in terms of age and playing-wise at this level but we have experience in the back line and it’s always the same every year, it is s one or the other.
Hayward had no hesitation in naming Woodman as the skipper after seeking advice from his management staff.
“I sought the opinion of all our staff because I think it's important to make that process as thorough as possible because they see him in different respective areas like medical, S&C. They see what they are like in the gym, what are they like off the field and on the field and Ryan was the overwhelming candidate.
“He commands his place in the team number one but he's one of those Alex Mann characters who leads by example. He’s a very quiet boy but what he says is mature and sensible and people listen and they will follow him so he was the overriding candidate,” explained Hayward.
With Richard Kelly moving to the Ospreys on a full-time coaching role, Aberavon’s Marc Breeze joins the coaching team.
“He’s been excellent with the boys and he's fitted in really smoothly with the coaching group and the management team,” said Hayward. “He's done a great job preparing the players for the Poland game and obviously Pontypool this week and I guess it's a bit different because he’s got Ireland next week
Wales U20 Six Nations squad
Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths (Dragons)
Freddie Chapman (Ospreys)
Josh Morse (Scarlets)
Sam Scarfe (Dragons)
Lewis Morgan (Scarlets)
Isaac Young (Scarlets)
Ellis Fackrell (Ospreys)
Will Couch (Scarlets)
Tomas Pritchard (Scarlets)
Liam Edwards (Ospreys)
Jonny Green (Harlequins)
Owain Evans (RGC)
Ryan Woodman (Dragons – CAPT)
Huw Davies (Sale)
Caleb Salmon (Scarlets)
Tom Caple (Dragons)
Luca Giannini (Scarlets)
Gwilym Evans (Cardiff Rugby)
Morgan Morse (Ospreys)
Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby)
Archie Hughes (Scarlets)
Harri Williams (Scarlets)
Che Hope (Dragons)
Dan Edwards (Ospreys)
Harrison James (Cardiff Rugby)
Iwan Jenkins (Exeter)
Harri Ackerman (Dragons)
Bryn Bradley (Harlequins)
Louie Hennessey (Bath Rugby)
Tom Florence (Ospreys)
Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby)
Harri Houston ((Ospreys)
Oli Andrew (Dragons)
Llien Morgan (Ospreys)
Jac Davies (Scarlets)
Kian Abraham (Scarlets)