Wales U18 to meet Australians

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:29
Large murrayfield pitch with ball

Australian Schools start their tour in the UK and Irleand with two matches in Netah, the first against Walkes S=A, the secoind against Wales.

Australian Schools start their tour in the UK and Irleand with two matches in Netah, the first against Walkes S=A, the secoind against Wales.

The Welsh sides are labelled Under-18 rather than schools. The 30 Australian tourists are schoolboys between the ages of 16 and 18.

A Wales Under-18 A side play the tourists on Friday 22 November (15.30), while the two sides will meet in a full Under-18 international on Wednesday 27 (19.15), both games at the Gnoll, while the Ospreys Under-18 side has earned the chance to play them on December 1 at The Brewery Field.

Wales Under-18 have undertaken tours to  South Africa during the last two off seasons, with Lewis putting a lot of stall in the encounters against top quality opposition, and in the experience itself.

Wales cap Dafydd Howells and Wales squad member Hallam Amos were on the trip just 15 months ago, along with the likes of Ashley Evans, Steffan Hughes, Sion Bennett, Nicky Thomas, Nicky Smith, Elliot Dee and Ethan Lewis who starred for Wales Under-20 en route towards the final of the Junior World Championship in midyear.

The fact that Howells has played international rugby already and Hallam Amos is training with Wales is a clear illustration of the speed in which players are now developing into senior internationals and so the players in action at the Gnoll next week could well be knocking on Warren Gatland's door before too long.

"After matches against England, France and South Africa, this is another fantastic opportunity for this group of players to face one of the best sides in the world,” said Lewis. "In playing the best southern hemisphere sides  more often, we dispel any myths we may hold about them, breaking down psychological barriers which will hopefully help to seal wins and narrow the gap between the hemispheres. We have already seen that at Under-20 level with recent wins over New Zealand and South Africa so the aim is to carry that through to senior rugby.

"Australia will provide a different kind of challenge to the sides this group has played so far. The northern hemisphere sides, and South Africa provide a stern physical challenge, whereas I believe Australia will have a more creative approach which will ask new questions of our defence systems.”

Lewis has developed a playing philosophy with Wales Under-18 which prioritises challenging the opposition with the ball in hand.  "International rugby at this level is not about winning games; it's about developing players for the future. If players are confident with the ball in hand at a young age, they will have more skills at their disposal as they move into senior rugby. We don't have a large pool of players in Wales so we must maximise all the potential and raw talent available to us.”

Wales Under-18 squad

Forwards: Kieron Assirratti (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/Wattstown), Keagan Bale (Dragons/Coleg Gwent/Caerleon), Alex Jeffries (Dragons/Coleg Gwent/Newport), Leon Brown  (Dragons/Newport High), Harrison Walsh (Ospreys/Bishopgore/Mumbles), Torin Myhill (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Kidwelly), Ryan Elias (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Athletic) , Liam Belcher (Blues/Porth County/Pontypridd), Adam Beard (Ospreys/Neath Port Talbot College/Morriston), Rory Thornton (Ospreys/Swansea University/Bonymaen), Matthew Dodd (Ospreys/Olchfa/Dunvant), Seb Davies (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/Pentyrch), Joe Davies (Dragons/Newport High/Bedwas), Tom Phillips Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Llangennech), Jon Fox (Ospreys/Gower College/Swansea), Jordan Viggers (Blues/St David's/St Peter's), Owen Jones (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/Merthyr), Oliver Griffiths (Dragons/Coleg Gwent/Cross Keys/Newport), Harry Keddie (Dragons/Coleg Gwent/Caerleon), Gareth Allan (Dragons/Bedwas/Bedwas)

Backs: Tom Williams (Blues/Treorchy Comp/Pontypridd), Dan Brooks (Ospreys/Cardiff University/Swansea), Luke Price (Ospreys/Maesydderwen/ Abercrave), Thomas Williams (Gogledd/Rydal Penrhos/Newtown), Jarrod Evans (Blues/Pontypridd High School/Pontypridd), Dan Jones (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins), Owen Watkin (Ospreys/Bridgend College/Bryncethin), Garyn Smith (Blues/Cardiff Met/Pontypridd), Tyler Morgan (Dragons/Caerleon/Newport), Morgan Williams (Gogledd/Llandrillo/Caernarfon), Josh Adams (Scarlets/Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Athletic ), Rhys Gealley (Ospreys/YG Gwyr/Pontarddulais ), Ellis-Wyn Benham (Blues/Coleg y Cymoedd/St Joseph's), Will Hayward (Exiles/Hartpury College), Lloyd Lewis (Dragons/Coleg Gwent), Jack Evans (Scarlets/Llandovery College/Llandovery)