WALES have named their side to face Australia in this Wednesday’s (May 30) opening day of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Béziers (20:00 BST).
Cai Evans (Ospreys) starts at fullback, with Rio Dyer (Dragons) and Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets) on the wings. An all-Scarlet midfield features Ioan Nicholas at 12 and Corey Baldwin at 13, alongside a Cardiff Blues combination of fly-half Ben Jones and scrum-half Dane Blacker.
Loosehead Rhys Carre and hooker Iestyn Harris (both Cardiff Blues) are joined in the front row by tighthead Rhys Henry (Ospreys). There is considerable size in the second row, with Bath Rugby’s Rhys Davies and Dragons’ Max Williams each standing over 6’6” tall.
Blindside Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers, pictured) continues in the captaincy role he first took up during this year’s U20 Six Nations, with Dan Davis (Scarlets) and Taine Basham (Dragons) completing the energetic back row.
Three uncapped players are named on the bench: prop Rhys Davies (Scarlets), and two late call-ups to the squad in tighthead Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues) and back rower Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets).
“Selection has been very difficult, with the entire squad working hard and putting in lots of preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said head coach Geraint Lewis. “Competition for places is strong, but we’ve gone with the team which we feel is best suited to the challenge presented to us by Australia.”
“It’s quite an experienced team, with some players having enjoyed exposure to the Guinness Pro14 this year. Due to our approach during the Six Nations in giving opportunities to the entire squad, we’ve got a strong nucleus of players who are adept and happy at U20 level. Hopefully those experiences can hold them in good stead on Wednesday.”
The Junior Wallabies represent the first of three challenges in Wales’ pool, followed by New Zealand (June 3) and Japan (June 7). “Australia are a formidable rugby nation that always produce talented players,” Lewis said of a team Wales met in the pool stage last year in Georgia. “With the limited footage we’ve seen of them, we know they’re a big side, and from last year’s encounter we’re aware that they present a real challenge with ball in hand.”
Lewis accepted that the weather in the south of France might suit the Australian style of play, but insisted his team were equally looking forward to playing in such conditions. “It’s exciting for us to play southern hemisphere opposition, not least because it’s quite new for most of the squad. It’s what we’re here for: to test ourselves against the best.”
Wales U20 v Australia U20 at the Stade de la Méditerranée will be shown live on S4C, with coverage starting from 19:45 BST.
Wales U20 team to face Australia:
15 Cai Evans (Ospreys)
14 Rio Dyer (Dragons)
13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets)
12 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets)
11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)
10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues)
9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues)
1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)
2 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)
3 Rhys Henry (Ospreys)
4 Rhys Davies (Bath Rugby)
5 Max Williams (Dragons)
6 Tommy Reffell (c) (Leicester Tigers)
7 Dan Davis (Scarlets)
8 Taine Basham (Dragons)
16 Dewi Lake (Ospreys)
17 Rhys Davies (Scarlets)
18 Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues)
19 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets)
20 Lennon Greggains (Dragons)
21 Harri Morgan (Ospreys)
22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues)
23 Joe Goodchild (Dragons)
Cefneithin hold off Cwmgors for second win
Cwmgors 22-31 Cefneithin
LOOKING for their first WRU Bowl victory since the restart, Cwmgors welcomed Cefneithin to Parc y Werin, the hosts kicking off playing towards Ysgol y Waun.
The visitors notched the opening score with an early converted try, before Andrew Mason sent a penalty over after 12 minutes for the home side.
The Cherries scored an excellent try on 20 minutes, a fine break from the impressive “Owz” resulting in a well-worked try; the resulting conversion unluckily came off the post, but ‘Gors led 8-7.
Some great work by the forwards brought due reward as Cwm grabbed a second touch down which Mason converted; but before the interval, Cefneithin hit back with a try of their own, to leave them trailing by just a point at the break.
Cefn then took the lead early in the second half with a penalty, and missed another minutes later, before breaching the Cwmgors defence to record a third try of the afternoon on 50 minutes.
Minutes later, the ever-industrious “Owz” popped up again, another clinical break and good support which saw Ioan Jones crash over the whitewash for the try; Andrew Mason’s conversion meant Cwm were just two points adrift.
But, ten minutes from the end, home hopes soon evaporated by a late try from the visitors which gave the Cherries too much to do and they ultimately went down to a valiant defeat.
Cwmgors travel to Tumble this Saturday (Sept 25) while Cefneithin host Amman United.
Amman United too good for Betws
AMMAN United earned their fourth win of the campaign on Saturday as they beat Betws 43-13.
After a short delay following the late arrival of the referee, it was Betws who opened the scoring when outside half Aled Rees Jones slotted an early penalty.
But the home side were soon on the attack; backrow man Alun Lewis’ jinking run opened the defence and his perfect pass put in supporting scrum- half Alex Williams to grab the try.
Following Dan Jones’ excellent run, Betws were penalised, and outside half Tom Caddell made no mistake with the resulting kick. A well struck penalty from the boot of Betws placekicker Jones made it 8-6 after 17 minutes.
Newly-married Iwan Davies showed no sign of flagging and was in the thick of things as his superb run typified his all-round effort, along with impressive centre Hacuna Bezzara.
Craig Ratliffe’s break then created space, and Rhodri Lewis’ pass put in Dan Jones for try number two, Caddell’s conversion making it 15-6.
Amman’s purple-patch continued as wing Eurig Morgan crossed for a fine corner try, but Betws showed their sheer grit, despite being down a man by now, peppering the Amman try-line before Rory McGhee forced his way over for a deserved try which Aled Rees Jones converted on the stroke of half time.
A gallant Betws defence was breached early in the second half as Iwan Davies’ pass put in centre Bezzara for a Caddell-converted try.
A superb individual try from Alex Williams which saw him sidestep in for another Amman try began taking the match out of the visitors’ grasp on the hour mark.
Eurig Morgan’s ‘try’ was then ruled out for a forward-pass, just before Alex Williams incurred the referee’s wrath, yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Betws almost took advantage of the 14 men as scrum half Ryan Tancock, who had a solid game, made a searing midfield break which sadly earned no end reward.
Betws’ tiring defensive legs conceded a further score as Alun Lewis provided a try on a plate for replacement Liam Poole to gallop over with minutes remaining.
Caddell’s conversion completed the scoring on an entertaining encounter.
Amman make the trip to Cefneithin on Saturday (Sept 25), while Betws are next in action on October 2.
Ynys prove one hill too far
Cwmamman Utd Reserves 2-4 Ynysygerwn
AFTER two 5-1 wins Cwmamman Reserves, playing their second game in 3 days, put up a brave fight against an Ynysygerwn team with lots of first team experience while also having to play 70 mins of the match with ten men.
The last thing they needed on tired legs was the dismissal of Brieg Matthews after 18 mins for an off the ball incident and it had been a tight match to that point.
But then on 23mins a through ball to Rhys Brewer saw him open the scoring for Ynys.
The 10 men of Cwm fought hard and Ashley Twigg was causing problems on the flank while Olly Dymond was brought down for a strong penalty shout but the referee waved play on.
Grant Rees and Stuart Dunn were strong at the centre of defence. Then just on half time a failure to clear at a corner saw Josh Davies slot it home for the equaliser for CWM.
The second half saw Ynysygerwn increase their possession as Cwm tired and in the 50th minute Tom Phillips flicked in a corner which was quickly followed by a goal in the 53rd minute when a ball over the top saw Charlie Farrell make it 3-1 for Ynys.
Again Cwm came back with Rhys Williams and Rhydian Jones making strong runs and Cam Isaac who had been a safe pair of hands for Cwm in goals but playing out for the last 15 mins score a great individual goal for 3-2.
Cwm pressed and had another strong penalty appeal before themselves conceding a penalty in the last minute which was converted by Nathan Davies to seal a hard fought 4-2 win for Ynysygerwn.
Cwm will enjoy the week’s rest before entertaining Briton Ferry next Saturday (Sept 25).
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