Cardiff Rugby under-18 kick off their Regional Age Grade Championship campaign on Wednesday as they travel to Port Talbot to take on Ospreys.
There is plenty of optimism heading into the new block of fixtures, following a successful schools and colleges campaign. Three of the capital’s sides picked up silverware at Principality Stadium on finals day, while Coleg y Cymoedd also secured a top four finish in the league.
After a number of years in the pathway system, Chadd Mutyambizi has been appointed head coach and will be duly assisted by three Wales internationals in Gareth Wyatt, Justin Thomas and first team prop Scott Andrews.
Lock Tom Caple will captain the Blue and Blacks at Aberavon’s Talbot Athletic Ground, having led Cardiff and Vale College to cup success last month.
He is joined in the pack by three of his triumphant CAVC team mates, with Saul Hurley wearing the number two jersey and back row duo Harper Chamberlain and Lucas de la Rua given the nod after impressing throughout the season.
Kai Carnell and Callum Dawe join Hurley in the front row, while 6ft 7in lock Rhys Burleton links up with skipper Caple in the boiler room.
Openside flanker Harry Beddall has also tasted success in recent months, and was the stand-out Year 12 student in the Hartpury side that lifted the ACE League Final in November.
Orson James, whose hat-trick led Whitchurch High School to the bowl final victory over Llandrillo, combines with Coleg y Cymoedd outside half, Jacob Symes, at half back.
Morgan Bowen and Sam Harris will form the midfield while an all-Glantaf back three of Louis Rochefort-Shugar, Tom Weekley and Jac Davies are given starts, having starred over the schools and colleges season.
Talent pathway manager, Aled James, said: “We’re really excited to get underway with a talented group of players.
“There are four really competitive matches on the horizon, which will provide an ideal competitive developmental tool and allow these boys to build on what has already been a brilliant season across the board for clubs, schools and colleges.
“After really detailed identification work across the region in the months leading up to squad selection, we’ve been blessed with brilliant depth and a number of boys will be brought into contention over the coming weeks as we aim to give everyone adequate game time while remaining competitive.
“A number of these boys have already been given opportunities within the pathway, training alongside the academy and Rags squads.
“You only have to look at the squad that featured last summer to see how some of them have taken their opportunity and kicked on impressively - Ryan Wilkins and Cameron Winnett both made their senior debuts last month, with Harrison James and McKenzie Martyn handed opportunities with Cardiff RFC. It's time for these boys to make the most of their opportunities now at a crucial stage in their development."
Ben Geraghty provides cover for his Glantaf back three team-mates from the bench, with CAVC scrum half Finn Charles also offering a goal-kicking option.
Mike Vaughan is set for his first involvement in representative rugby, having impressed for Rhiwbina RFC and Whitchurch High School, while Gavin Parry offers a strong ball carrying presence.
Cardiff Rugby under-18: Jac Davies; Tom Weekley, Sam Harris, Morgan Bowen, Louis Rochefort-Shugar; Jacob Symes, Orson James; Kai Carnell, Saul Hurley, Callum Dawe, Rhys Burleton, Tom Caple (capt.), Harper Chamberlain, Harry Beddall, Lucas de la Rua
Replacements: Gavin Parry, Mike Vaughan, Owen Popple, Ewan McIntyre, Kenzie Jenkins, Finn Charles, Ben Geraghty, Matty Young