Steffan Evans swaps the Champions Cup for the B&I Cup
There will be nothing other than pride to play for in the final round of British & Irish Cup matches for the four Welsh regional Premiership Select XVs this weekend.
The four sides have managed only four wins and a draw in the 20 pool matches played to date, although the fixtures have allowed many of the Wales Under 20 squad to test themselves at a higher level than in the Principality Premiership.
Cardiff Blues Premiership Select XV have named a team with a mix of youth and experience for their final outing in Nottingham. Head coach Richard Hodges has made seven changes to the side that lost in the closing stages at home to London Welsh in Pool 4 last weekend.
Callum Hall is called up at full back while Teri Morgan Gee gets a first appearance this season on the wing. A new look half-back pairing sees Wales Under 20 squad outside half Jarrod Evans team up with Lewis Jones.
Hooker Ashleigh James starts in the front row while a new back row trio sees Shane Lewis-Hughes and Morgan Sienawski - both also named by Wales Under-20s this week - play alongside James Sheekey.
"We want to finish the pool with a win against a Nottingham with which we drew in an entertaining game in difficult conditions at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park back in November. The spine of the team is experienced while a number of young players are given the chance to impress," said Hodges.
"The likes of Corey Domachowski, Kieron Assiratti, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Morgan Sieniawski, Jarrod Evans, Harri Millard and Elis-Wyn Benham all won Wales Under 20 call-ups this week, so it will be great to see them play in this competition."
Steffan Evans was playing in Paris against some of the best players in the world in the European Rugby Champions Cup last weekend, but less than a week on he will be turning out in the British & Irish Cup against Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.
The 21-year-old wing joins the Scarlets Premiership Select XV for a tough trip to a team that is hoping to secure a home quarter-final in the competition can securing another win. Dai Flanagan's young side put up a highly creditable performance against English Championship leaders Bristol last weekend and they will be seeking to end on a high.
"It was pleasing to see the boys put in a decent shift last weekend and put up a big fight against a very experienced Bristol side," said Flanagan. "As we've stated throughout, this competition gives the region's young players an opportunity to challenge themselves against very strong sides.
"These experiences will benefit the young players as they look to continue their development and stake a claim in the senior regional side. We're expecting a tough challenge against Bedford as they'll be looking for a victory to progress through to the knock-out stages, but we're just as keen to finish the competition on a high."
Five of the Scarlets squad were named in the Wales Under 20 group for the Six Nations championship this week - Dan Jones, Billy McBryde, Rhys Fawcett, Ifan Phillips and Shaun Evans - and former Australia Under 20 cap Jack Payne appears in the back row.
Former Wales wing Aled Brew will play for a Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select XV that will be seeking a double over Connacht Eagles in Pool 5. They won 34-10 at the Sportsground in Galwey in November and have the best record of all the Welsh regional sides with two wins to date.
The Dragons PSXV's final fixture is at Eugene Cross Park (Saturday, 2.00pm) and they will be hoping to notch a similar victory to the one posted in such dramatic circumstances against Jersey at Cross Keys, 30-27, in November.
The Ospreys Premiership Select XV will be looking to break their duck in the tournament and seeking to avenge a 32-10 defeat in the opening round against Yorkshire Carnegie. They meet the Pool 3 leaders at The Gnoll (Saturday, 2.00pm).
Cardiff Blues PSXV: Callum Hall; Teri Morgan Gee, Richard Smith, Harri Millard, Elis-Wyn Benham; Jarrod Evans, Lewis Jones; Brad Thyer, Ashleigh James, Craig Mitchell, Jevon Groves, Chris Dicomidis, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Morgan Sienawski , James Sheekey
Replacements: Joe Tomlinson, Corey Domachowski, Kieron Assiratti, Miles Normandale, Calum Bradbury, Tomos Williams, Nick Griffiths
Scarlets PSXV: Dion Jones; Steffan Evans, Jacob Cowley, Billy McBryde, Gavin Thomas; Dan Jones, Kieran Hardy; Rhys Fawcett, Torin Myhill, Will Taylor, Ben Thompson, Jack Jones (captain), Jack Payne, Trystan Lloyd, Stuart Worrall
Replacements: Ifan Phillips, Tom Kaijaks, Steffan Thomas, Owain Morgan, Shaun Evans, Connor Lloyd, Matthew Jacobs
Dragons PSXV: Llywarch Ap Myrddin (Newport); George Gasson, Connor Edwards (Dragons Academy/Bedwas), Ross Wardle (Dragons), Aled Brew (Dragons); Josh Prosser (Cross Keys), Owen Davies (Dragons/Newport); Hugh Gustafson (Dragons, captain), Rhys Buckley (Dragons), Lloyd Fairbrother (Dragons), Scott Andrews (Dragons/Cross Keys), Adam Brown (Newport), Scott Matthews (Cross Keys), James Benjamin (Dragons), Harri Keddie (Dragons/Ebbw Vale)
Replacements: Luke Garrett (Dragons/Cross Keys), Leon Brown (Dragons Academy/Cross Keys), Josh Skinner (Dragons Academy/Cross Keys), Andrew Waite (Bedwas), Owain Leonard (Dragons Academy/Cross Keys), Barney Nightingale (Dragons/Newport), Aaron Warren (Dragons)
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