Wales name experienced squad for U20 champs
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Wales have named an experienced squad that will travel to Georgia for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Twenty-three of the 28-man squad featured in this year's U20 Six Nations, rewarded for a campaign which lived up to their coaches' desire to see Wales play an exciting brand of rugby.
Those looking to gain their first caps at this level are centre Connor Edwards, loosehead Eddie Drake, lock Will Griffiths (who captained Wales U18 this season), wing Joe Goodchild and tighthead Scott Jenkins.
Flank Will Jones will don the captain's armband, continuing the role in which he impressed over the course of the U20 Six Nations. Despite being without a number of experienced players due to injury, including centre Keiran Williams - the 2017 U20 Six Nations top try-scorer - the head coach is confident those selected have what it takes to make a tilt at the title.
"It's fair to say the time for experimentation is over with the World Rugby U20 Championship kicking off at the end of the month," commented Strange.
"We've got a balanced squad with huge amounts of potential - some of which we've already seen.
"The new players coming in are there because they've shown they can integrate well with the way we want the team to play. We're hoping they can add to what we've already achieved so far as a group."
Spirits in the camp were given a further boost this week by the announcement that almost all 13 of the uncapped players set to feature on Wales' senior tour this summer are products of the U20 pathway. "That's very encouraging for this group of players to see," Strange said. "They've got a very big opportunity in Georgia to show that they can make it to the next level, but most importantly to do so as a team."
As part of their preparations for the World Rugby U20 Championship, Wales U20 will welcome Scotland U20 to the Brewery Field in Bridgend on Tuesday 16th May for a warm-up match. This comes after the squad spent three days in the company of the British Army on a team-building project at Aldershot.
Forwards: Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Blues), Sid Blackmore (Bath Rugby), James Botham (Cardiff Blues), Callum Bradbury (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues), Eddie Drake (Cardiff Blues), Will Griffiths (Ospreys), Owen Hughes (Newport Gwent Dragons), Scott Jenkins (Scarlets), Will Jones (captain, Ospreys), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Sean Moore (Pontypridd), Ellis Shipp (Newport Gwent Dragons), Steff Thomas (Scarlets), Aled Ward (Cardiff Blues).
Backs: Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), Connor Edwards (Newport Gwent Dragons), Joe Goodchild (Newport Gwent Dragons), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues), Phil Jones (Ospreys), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues), Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets), Arwel Robson (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jared Rosser (Newport Gwent Dragons), Will Talbot-Davies (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Wales' Pool A fixtures:
May 31: v Australia
June 4: v England
June 8: v Samoa