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Wales U20s name nine Cardiff Blues

3rd May 2016

Jason Strange has named nine Cardiff Blues starlets in his Wales squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships next month.

Liam Belcher has returned to full fitness to bolster the playing squad that claimed a U20s Six Nations Grand Slam and is one of seven forwards selected.

They include the likes of Dillon Lewis, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season for Wales’ Capital Region, making 13 first team appearances this season.

In the backs both Jarrod Evans and Harri Millard are included, while RGC 1404’s Rhun Williams, who will join the Blues this summer, is also named.

The Blues have the biggest regional representation in the squad, testament to the good work being done by elite pathway performance manager Richard Hodges and his team at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

"It was a tough selection process," said head coach Strange. "It was difficult to cut a squad that had performed so well in the Six Nations, but the players coming back in certainly add an extra dimension.

"It's good to get the players back into training and they are confident on the back of a major achievement in winning the Six Nations.

"We will certainly need to step up a level in order to compete with the top nations at the World Rugby U20 Championship, and the exciting part is that the coaches and players all feel we can improve by an extra 20 or 30%, so if we get that right, we have the opportunity to do well, and we will be working hard over the next six weeks to get that right.

"It's a huge honour for the players to represent their country at a global tournament and we want to ensure they do themselves justice and enjoy every moment."

Strange's players earned plaudits in the Six Nations, not only with their results but through their attacking style of play. That won't change says the former Wales A outside half.

"We will continue with our attacking style of rugby and our other strong points from the Six Nations. Our togetherness and the team culture we've created are some of our key strengths too as demonstrated in the Six Nations. We will build on that during this period and at a three day training camp based at Monmouth RFC in a fortnight's time."

Wales have Ireland, Georgia and New Zealand in Pool A of the England-based tournament.

"Although we beat Ireland in Dublin, they made significant improvements during the tournament and beat England away from home," added Strange. 

"Georgia have improved enormously at age grade level, earning their place in this tournament by winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy, beating Canada in the final last year, while playing champions New Zealand is exactly the kind of test we want in order to develop our players to their full potential."
All of Wales' World Rugby U20 matches will be televised by S4C.

Wales' World Rugby U20 Championship squad:

Forwards: Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Cardiff Blues), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Liam Belcher (Cardiff Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), Josh Macleod (Scarlets)

Backs: Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Cardiff Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), George Gasson (Dragons), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys)

Wales' World Rugby Under 20 Championship fixtures:

7th June (17.30) Wales v Ireland Manchester City Academy Stadium
11th June (15.45) Wales v Georgia Manchester City Academy Stadium
15th June (17.30) New Zealand v Wales AJ Bell Stadium