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7 west Wales players in Wales U20

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Tom Phillips: Wales U20 captain has featured in Europe for the Scarlets this season

SEVEN players originating from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire have been named in a strong 31-man Wales Under 20’s squad for the forthcoming Six Nations tournament, with the Scarlets Tom Phillips selected as captain. 

Captain Phillips, Blues prop Dillon Lewis, Scarlets outside half Dan Jones, Blues outside half Jarrod Evans and Ospreys centre Owen Watkin have all featured in the Guinness Pro 12 this season, while Phillips and Lewis have also featured for their Regions in Europe and other squad members have represented their Regional Premiership Select XVs in the British & Irish Cup.

Strange, who was named Wales Under 20 head coach at the start of the season, said: “We are genuinely enthused by the potential quality in the squad, and excited at the prospect of competing in the Under 20 Six Nations which is such a competitive tournament and a great opportunity for players to showcase their skills.

“Our targets, primarily are to play a style of rugby which is enjoyable to play and watch, and will benefit player development. Secondly, we want to ensure we help players to maximise their potential by creating a high quality environment which embodies the values and behaviours we identify with as a group. We feel if we do that, we will not only produce quality players but rounded individuals. Victories are important, but a bigger agenda is to prepare players for the professional game by exposing them to international rugby. For us, Tom Phillips was an obvious choice as captain, he is someone who leads by example both on and off the pitch.”

Wales travel to Dublin to play Ireland at Donnybrook on Friday 5 February (19.35), before welcoming Scotland to Eirias on Friday 12 February (6.30pm) and then France on Saturday 27 February (19.45).

Strange, whose assistant coaches are Geraint Lewis, Chris Horsman and Richard Hodges, added, “We know playing Ireland away in Round 1 will be a tough challenge, but as a result of teams changing so much from one season to the next at this age, we will be focussing on our own game and ensuring we are well prepared.

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“We get a huge boost from the crowd and the welcome we receive at Parc Eirias and we will be looking forward to returning there for the following two games against Scotland and France, and for the final game against Italy after playing England in Bristol

“We will look to expose as many players as possible to this level of rugby during the Six Nations tournament, with one eye firmly fixed on the World Rugby U20 Championship in England in June. There are a number of players ruled out through injury at the moment who could bolster the squad for that tournament.”

Wales Under 20 Six Nations squad: 

Forwards: 

Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Rhys Fawcett (Scarlets), Corey Domachowski (Blues), Leon Brown (Dragons), Kieron Assiratti (Blues), Dillon Lewis (Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Ifan Phillips (Scarlets), Tim Grey (RGC 1404), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bryce Morgan (Dragons), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Blues), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Blues)

Backs: 

Declan Smith (Scarlets), Cameron Davies (RGC 1404), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Billy McBryde (Scarlets), Jarrod Evans (Blues), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Kieran Williams (Ospreys), Joe Thomas (Ospreys), Barney Nightingale (Dragons), Harri Millard (Blues), Elis-Wyn Benham (Blues), Tom Williams (Ospreys), George Gasson (Dragons), Keelan Giles (Ospreys), Rhun Williams (RGC 1404), Joe Gage (Ospreys)

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