Three Cardiff Blues starlets have been named in Wales U20s Six Nations opener against Scotland in Colwyn Bay on Friday (20:15).
Head coach Jason Strange has named an exciting young squad and has called on the experience of fly-half Ben Jones and Rhys Carre, who both starred during last year’s campaign.
Iestyn Harris also starts alongside Carre at hooker, while Ben Thomas, who was Wales U18s player of the tournament in the summer, is named among the replacements.
In all, 15 players could make their bow at this level. Leicester Tigers’ Tommy Reffell, who captained Wales U18 to some notable victories last season, has the honour of leading his country once again.
The core of that Wales U18 backline continues this Friday, with Ospreys trio Harri Morgan (scrum-half), Callum Carson (centre) and Cai Evans (fullback) all set to run out against the Scots.
Reffell leads from an all-new back row featuring Scarlets openside Dan Davies and Dragons number eight Taine Basham – the latter having made his full regional debut for the Men of Gwent earlier this month.
Newcomer Sam Wainwright will have the privilege of starting for Wales U20 at his home ground at Stadiwm Zip World (formerly Parc Eirias), with the RGC tighthead having impressed in the Principality Premiership this season.
“We’ve got a lot of promising youngsters in there – many of them still eligible for U18s –
but we had a very young squad last season too,” explains head coach Strange, “which means we can benefit from the return of players like Ben Jones and Rhys Carre.
“We saw what a lot of these new boys are capable of during their time with the U18s last year, so it’s up to them to step up and show us what they can do in the U20s shirt in front of what is a terrific crowd in North Wales."
Back-row forward James Botham was not considered for selection due to a short-term injury sustained against Leicester Tigers while Dane Blacker has been ruled out for the season.
Wales U20 team to face Scotland
15 Cai Evans (Ospreys)*
14 Joe Goodchild (Dragons)
13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets)
12 Callum Carson (Ospreys)*
11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)
10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues)
9 Harri Morgan (Ospreys)*
1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)
2 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)*
3 Sam Wainwright (RGC)*
4 Jack Pope (Bridgend)
5 Max Williams (Dragons)
6 Tommy Reffell (c) (Leicester Tigers)*
7 Dan Davies (Scarlets)*
8 Taine Basham (Dragons)*
16 Dewi Lake (Ospreys)*
17 Josh Reynolds (Dragons)*
18 Rhys Henry (Ospreys)*
19 Morgan Jones (Scarlets)*
20 Morgan Morris (Ospreys)
21 Dan Babos (Dragons)*
22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues)*
23 Tommy Rogers (Scarlets)*
*Uncapped at U20 level