BYRON Hayward praised the character of his Wales side as they were forced to dig deep to overcome a resilient Georgia in the U20 Six Nations Summer Series.
At one point it looked as if Wales might slip to their first defeat of the summer campaign, but they were able to dig themselves out of a hole. And former Scarlets coach Hayward believes this is an extremely important trait.
“You have to give our boys credit because they showed a lot of character,” said Hayward. “That was a real battle, and sometimes you’ve got to go to some real dark places to win a game of rugby.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Georgia because they are a good side, and a lot better than I thought they would have been. They were very strong upfront.
“They had an unbelievable driving maul which we struggled to contain.”
Wales scored four tries in total to claim a 30-24 bonus point win with Dan Edwards, Harri Houston (twice), and Joe Hawkins claiming tries.
Hayward was full of praise for scrum-half Morgan Lloyd who put in a tremendous all-round performance, and second-row Dafydd Jenkins. Indeed, Hayward has a lot to thank Jenkins for because it was the giant Exeter lock who stole a crucial lineout at the death to deny Georgia what could have been a match winning try.
“That’s what world class players at this age grade give you, and that’s what Dafydd Jenkins is,” said Hayward. “That little moment was world class.
“It was an essential moment. In fairness to Morgan Lloyd I thought he was absolutely outstanding.
“I’d say he was our man of the match and won us the game. He executed the space behind their defence with the chip over the top for our try just after half-time, and he exited perfectly straight after which put us back into the ascendancy.”
Wales face Italy Under 20s next Wednesday in the final pool game of their U20 Six Nations Summer Series, and Hayward believes their victory over Georgia U20s will serve as good preparation.
“Essentially the game against Italy is a semi-final,” he said. “We are in the top four of this competition, and next Wednesday night against Italy is massive. This game against a very strong Georgian side was real good preparation for us.”