Wales open their defence of the Six-Nations Under-21 Championship by
introducing ten new caps in the starting lineup to meet Scotland at
Bridgend on Friday (2.00pm).
Coach Chris Davey is without several players through injury and the backs
have only Matthew Nuthall remaining from last season's squad. However,
there will be great aerial power from 6'10' Luke Charteris and the 6'8' Ian
Evans, while hooker Huw Bennett will start, only if he is not required by
the senior squad.
Unavailable through injury are David Bishop, Richard Fussell and Gareth
McCarthy in the backs and No 8 James Malpas, who has hurt a shoulder.
Francesco Brillante, the 19-years-old Cardiff wing, gets an unexpected
call-up and big John Yapp, who was on the bench once last season, is
available at loose-head prop.
'We have not had such a big roll-over as last season,' said Davey. 'A couple
of experienced players are now over-age, but there is lots of talent in the
'Last season Scotland gave us a tough physical match, but we did not let
them score a try. We expect the same and they can be difficult to play
against. It will be a hard season and we must just take it as it comes.'
Team (*denotes new cap): 15 Matthew Nuthall (Pontypridd); 14 *Ifan Evans
(Llandovery), 13 *Richard Payne (Newport), 12*Lee Thomas (Celtic Warriors),
11*Francesco Brillante (Cardiff); 10*Scott Macleod (Cardiff Blues),
9*Rhodri Wells (Swansea); 1*John Yapp (Cardiff Blues), 2 Kieran Crawford
(The Dragons) or Huw Bennett (Ospreys), 3*Cai Griffiths (Neath), 4*Ian
Evans (Pontypridd), 5 Luke Charteris (The Dragons), 6 James Merriman
(Gloucester), 7 Richie Pugh (Ospreys, capt), 8*Richard Dale (Newport).
Replacements: *David Maddocks (Llanelli Scarlets), K Crawford or *Will Kay (Newcastle Falcons), *Nathan Williams (Llanelli Scarlets), *Jonathan Mills
(Bath), *Matthew Jones (Ospreys), *Richard Rees (Swansea), *Gavin Evans
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series