Wales have named their squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships in Manchester this June.
Having won the U20 RBS 6 Nations with a Grand Slam, Jason Strange’s side will be feeling confident heading into next month’s competition, though with champions New Zealand in their group alongside Ireland and Georgia (recently promoted from the U20 Trophy, of which you can see our summary of this year’s tournament here – World Rugby U20 Trophy), life will be far from easy.
Four players return to the squad after missing the 6 Nations through injury, hooker Liam Belcher and his Cardiff Blues teammate Seb Davies in the second row, as well as Scarlets back row Josh MacLeod and Ospreys winger Tom Williams.
Speaking on selection for the tournament to www.wru.co.uk , Strange said:
“It was a tough selection process, 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.”
With a tough group ahead of them, Strange spoke of the challenge in line:
“Although we beat Ireland in Dublin, they made significant improvements during the tournament and beat England away from home, 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.”
Wales’ World Rugby U20 Championship squad:
Forwards: Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Liam Belcher (Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues), Josh Macleod (Scarlets)
Backs: Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Declan Smith (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Harri Millard (Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), George Gasson (Dragons), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys)
Wales’ World Rugby Under 20 Championship fixtures (All televised on S4C):
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