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Seven Blues players in Wales Under 20 side

1st February 2010

Wales Under 20 head coach Phil Davies has named his side to face England

Wales Under 20 head coach Phil Davies has named his side to face England

Davies has named an experienced side to face England at Kingsholm on Friday night (7.45pm), with eleven of the starting fifteen having played in last season's Under 20 side. In the forwards, the front row of Simon Gardiner, Rhys Williams and captain Watchurst all featured last term, along with lock James King and flankers James Thomas and Josh Navidi.

Pontypridd and Blues academy lock Macauley Cook and Pontypool no 8 Morgan Allen, son of former Newbridge, Newport and Wales lock Andy, are the only two new caps in the starting pack.

Cardiff centre Owen Williams and Glamorgan Wanderers full back Dan Fish are the only two uncapped players in the backline, with half backs Rhys Downes and vice captain Matthew Jarvis having played at this level last season along with centre Scott Williams and wings James Loxton and Kristian Phillips, currently a member of Warren Gatland's RBS 6 Nations squad.

Davies said, "We're pleased with the strength in depth we are starting to create within the group. The players involved with the squad last season have come on in leaps and strides and those joining us from last year's Under 18 group are really pushing for places. We also have some exciting new players who haven't been involved in international pathway rugby before such as full back Dan Fish, and others such as Morgan Allen who was on the fringes of the squad last season but has made huge progress.

"The international player pathway programme, which includes the Wales Under 20 set-up, aims to support the development work being carried out within the Regional academies and led by the WRU Regional Performance Managers. There is a high level of cooperation between the Regions, the Premiership clubs and us as a Wales Under 20 management team and we hope to add an extra element to these players' games which will benefit their clubs and Regions.

"The players selected the leaders in the squad, with Dan Watchurst and Matthew Jarvis coming from that group of players. Dan is a natural captain, similar in leadership style to Scott Andrews last season and commands the respect of his peers. He and Matthew will lead the side for the first two games of the campaign, with Rhys Williams, Josh Navidi, James King, James Thomas, Rhys Downes and Kristian Phillips the other members of the leadership group.

"England is a tough challenge for the opening weekend of games, they are a tremendous side full of Guinness Premiership talent, but it's a challenge I believe our players will be ready for and I'm looking forward to seeing them perform as a unit.

"We will go into this Under 20 Six Nations Championship striving to win every game, but we are certainly looking forward to some home support in our three games at Cardiff Arms Park, starting with Scotland on Friday 12th February."

Wales Under 20 team v England (Friday 5 February, Kingsholm, Gloucester)

Dan Fish (Blues); James Loxton (Blues), Owen Williams (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Kristian Phillips (Ospreys); Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys), Rhys Downes (Blues); Dan Watchurst (capt, Dragons), Rhys Williams (Blues), Simon Gardiner (Scarlets), Macauley Cook (Blues), James King (Ospreys), James Thomas (Dragons), Josh Navidi (Blues), Morgan Allen (Pontypool)

Replacements: Trystan Davies (Scarlets), Ieuan Davies (Glamorgan Wanderers), Lloyd Peers (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Lee Rees (Scarlets), Matthew Pewtner (Dragons). Travelling reserve: Rhodri Jones (Scarlets)

Tickets for Wales Under 20 home games, at Cardiff Arms Park, are available now from £5 for children and £10 for adults. Tickets are on sale at the Cardiff Arms cafe / store, no 8 Westgate Street, online via /tickets and from Ticketweb on tel 08444 771000