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Grady determined to use U20 experience as springboard to challenge for Cardiff spot

International | 30th June 2022

Mason Grady is determined to use the summer’s campaign with Wales under-20 as a springboard to challenge for a place in the Cardiff side next season.

Having recovered from a significant knee injury which kept him sidelined for more than a year, the Cardiff youngster made a long-awaited return to age grade international rugby on Saturday, as Byron Hayward’s men brushed aside Scotland in the opening round of U20s Six Nations Summer Series.

The centre’s impact on both sides of the ball was instrumental as Wales secured all five points, and he continues his midfield partnership with skipper Joe Hawkins for this afternoon’s challenge against Georgia.

And now Grady wants to follow in the footsteps of brother, Cory Allen, in respresenting Cardiff and Wales on the senior stage.

“Next season I just want to settle down with Cardiff and start for them,” explained the 20 year old.

“People around me at the club have been great. Rey Lee-Lo has been keen to give me advice as to how to get into games and defend and others have helped as well.

“I’m still young and it’s about trying to improve with each game.

“The big goals are to win a cap for Wales and further down the line feature for the British and Irish Lions, but I understand everyone wants to achieve those and there’s a lot of work that needs to be put in.

“So getting that starting spot for Cardiff, that’s the first goal.

“The player I’ve looked up to most has been my brother Cory. I went to pretty much every one of his games, and growing up I wanted to be like him — play for Cardiff, play for Wales.

“Thinking back to when I was watching him as a youngster of around eight to 10, it’s a bit surreal that I’m doing that now, albeit playing for Wales U20s.

“I was 13 when he scored a hat-trick in the World Cup.

“He’s been unlucky with injuries but I still think he’s one of the best centres out there. Hopefully, he’s going to come back from his injury and tear it up.”

Grady believes the comprehensive win over Scotland will give his side a boost as they target top spot in the pool.

He continued: “It was great to start the tournament with a win. It will give us some confidence.

“I thought we were good as a side. We previewed Scotland, knew how we wanted to play, shut them down physically and were on the ball defensively.

“That said, no one is complacent. We gave away 17 penalties and there were a few mistakes, so there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“Everyone’s feeling positive. Hopefully, we can do well in this competition.

“With Daf and Chris in the pack, it brings the experience we need to calm stuff down and do what we want to do to win games.

“The boys on the wing were good and I enjoyed playing alongside Joe. We understand each other on the field, so we don’t have to talk much as we just know where the other one will be. He’s a good guy and I thought we went well.

“Probably my ball-carrying ability and my ability to break the line are my strong points. I’d like to think I can change a game with a carry. I also enjoy defending. I find it interesting watching players attack and then thinking how I could defend against them.

“It helps to be on the heavier side when it comes to ball-carrying and tackling. Having a bit of speed helps, too. If I make a mistake, I can try to catch up and put it right.

“I prefer playing 13, but if I had to play on the wing, I wouldn’t kick up a fuss. I’m comfortable in both roles.

“Everyone knows that 13 is a tough position to defend, but I enjoy that side of it, while there’s also a lot of space to attack, to go around players and make a difference.”