14 Cardiff Blues stars were in action this weekend as they made their mark on the international stage in impressive fashion.
France under-20 36 Wales under-20 19
The weekend’s action kicked off at Cardiff Arms Park on Thursday as Wales looked to bounce back from defeat against Ireland as they went head-to-head with world champions, France.
There was a late change to Ioan Cunningham’s side as Garyn Phillips was ruled out at the eleventh hour. Cardiff prop Theo Bevacqua was promoted into the front row, joining academy team-mates Jacob Beetham, Ethan Lloyd and captain Alex Mann in the starting line-up.
Full back Beetham crossed the whitewash twice in the encounter, but Les Bleus, inspired by the energetic performances of Nolann le Garrec and Alexandre Tcaptchet, proved too strong for the men in red.
Efan Daniel, Ioan Evans and Nathan Evans also made appearances from the bench but, despite a strong final quarter, Wales were unable to claw their way back into the contest.
Wales will take on England on Wednesday in the penultimate round of Six Nations action before their Championship campaign draws to a close against Scotland.
Wales 68 Canada 12
Wales kicked off their summer series with a convincing victory over a Canadian side led by coaches Kingsley Jones, Rob Howley and Byron Hayward.
Six Cardiff Blues stars were included in the matchday squad, while academy product Leigh Halfpenny, who now plies his trade for Scarlets, celebrated his 100th Test cap.
The full back’s afternoon was cut short in heart-breaking fashion as he was stretchered off the Principality Stadium turf after only two minutes of action.
While Canada did take a surprise early lead through Kainoa Lloyd, Cardiff scrum half Tomos Williams struck back for the hosts, catching the visiting defence napping with a quick tap penalty.
Back row James Botham crossed for his first international try as the homegrown product got on the end of a finely crafted counter attack.
Ospreys prop Nicky Smith and Dragons trio Jonah Holmes, Elliot Dee and Will Rowlands also crossed the whitewash in the opening 40 minutes to give Wales a commanding lead at the break.
Live-wire number nine, Williams, was in scintillating form for the hosts and added a second shortly after half time.
Centre Willis Halaholo proved a handful for the Canucks’ defence while prop Dillon Lewis had a strong outing at the set-piece, with both players producing key turnovers in defence.
It was a proud afternoon for playmaker Ben Thomas, who came off the bench in the second half to make his Test debut. The Cardiff star, who replaced Callum Sheedy, also got his first points on the international stage, slotting two tricky conversions.
In the final play, Thomas added an assist to his name with a wonderful long pass putting full back Holmes in for a second score of the afternoon.
Josh Turnbull, who enjoyed a stand-out campaign in club colours, also made a cameo off the bench, making his first appearance for Wales since 2018.
Sigma Lions 14 British & Irish Lions 56
The British and Irish Lions got their South African adventure underway with a clinical performance against United Rugby Championship outfit, Sigma Lions, in Johannesburg.
Cardiff wing Josh Adams was the only player to retain a starting spot from the previous week’s win over Japan, following a try-scoring display at BT Murrayfield.
Former Cardiff Blues age grade star, Louis Rees-Zammit, now of Gloucester, opened the scoring with a debut try, but it was fellow back three star Adams who took the headlines.
The 26 year old - who was voted Fans' Player of the Match - crossed for a thrilling four tries to take his overall tally for the tour to five and put an early marker down for Test selection.
The Rugby World Cup try scorer capped off a stunning attacking performance by topping the charts for meters made (116) and clean breaks (five).