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
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.