WALES Under 18 men and Wales Under 18 Women squads have been named for the forthcoming Six Nations Under 18 Festivals.
The Six Nations U18 Men’s Festival, running from April 8-16, will feature three matchdays hosted at Energia Park, Dublin where Wales will face Italy, Ireland and Scotland. Teams will play three standalone 70-minute fixtures, with every player looking to start at least one game with rolling substitutions throughout.
Returning for a second year, the 2023 Six Nations U18 Women’s Festival will be held at Wellington College, England, starting on April 7 and running until April 15, including three match days. Teams will each play four 35-minute fixtures across the first two match days followed by one full 70-minute fixture on the final match day.
Wales will face England and Scotland on day one, France and Italy in round two and complete the competition against Ireland.
Every game will be live streamed across both festivals.
Wales U18 men’s head coach Richie Pugh has named four uncapped players in his 26-strong squad. Outside backs Joshua Pearce and Kodie Stone join utility back Scott Delnevo as newcomers while RGC front row Ethan Say is the only new cap in the pack.
“When you look at selection, we do have to think of three games in advance,” explained Pugh.
“Everyone has to start a game and all 26 players will be featured in each game so you have got to get the balance right. It’s different when you can pick a squad and change it every game but ultimately, we are having to pick a squad in advance so that versatility and utility player come to the fore so you have to be smart as well.
“All eyes are on Italy for the first game – we haven’t seen much of them. They played France and Ireland earlier in the year and we know they are stronger than they have ever been in terms of their development pathway programme. It will be huge challenge for the boys but one we are looking forward to.”
Catrina Nicholas-McLaughlin is in her first season at the helm of the U18 women’s team and admits it ‘has been a new challenge being a head coach’ but one she is enjoying. She describes her 28-strong strong as ‘very enthusiastic and a vibrant group.’
“There’s a great energy about them and they are extremely coachable,” she said. “You can explain something to every single one of them, you can explain the how and the why and they will then apply that into practice. You see that in every session and game as well.
“As a whole they are very coachable and full of personality.”
With two double headers before a clash against Ireland on the final day of competition the young squad face a tough schedule but Nicholas-McLaughlin argues that while all teams go out to win, there is more at stake than just the final result on the scoreboard.
“It’s not just about the results, it’s also trying to develop their skillset and their mental toughness. It’s about trying to prepare them for the next stages of international rugby. It’s more about the performance they are able to put in,” she said.
Six Nations Under 18 Men’s Festival – Energia Park, Dublin
Wales U18s men’s squad
Ioan Emanuel (Bath | Millfield)
Harry Thomas (Scarlets | Coleg Sir Gar)
Sam Scott (Wasps | City of Oxford College)
Nick Thomas (Dragons RFC | Hartpury)
Kane James (Exeter Chiefs | Sedburgh)
Kenzie Jenkins (Bristol | Coleg y Cymoedd)
Harry Beddall (Captain – Cardiff Rugby | Hartpury College)
Max Bignell (Cardiff Rugby | Whitchurch High School)
Evan Wood (Cardiff Rugby | Coleg y Cymoedd)
Ethan Say (RGC | Llandrillo)
Luke Evans (Cardiff Rugby | Y Pant)
Kyle Harris (Ospreys | Coleg y Cymoedd)
Keanu Evans (Scarlets | Strade)Evan Minto (Dragons | Hartpury)
Owain Paskell (Cardiff Rugby | Whitchurch High School)
Harri Wilde (Cardiff Rugby | Ysgol Glantaf)
Tom Bowen (Cardiff Rugby | Clifton College)
Steffan Emanuel (Cardiff Rugby | Millfield School)
Osian Roberts (Sake | Kirkham Grammar School)
Scott Delnevo (Cardiff Rugby | Cardiff & Vale College)
Joshua Pearce (Cardiff Rugby | Hartpury)
Jack Woods (Dragons RFC | Monmouth School for Boys)
Ioan Duggan (Dragons RFC | Cwm Rhymni)
Elijah Evans (Cardiff Rugby | Cardiff & Vale College)
Harry Rees Weldon (Dragons RFC | Coleg Gwent)
Kodie Stone (Cardiff Rugby | Coleg y Cymoedd)
Six Nations Under-18 Men’s Festival – Energia Park, Dublin
Wales U18s men’s fixtures
Wales v Italy – 1pm
Wednesday, April 12:
Wales v Ireland – 5.30pm
Sunday, April 16:
Scotland v Wales 12pm
Six Nations Under-18 Women’s Festival – Wellington College
Wales U18s women squad
Chloe Thomas Bradley (Coleg Gwent Crosskeys | Dragons RFC)
Niamh Padmore (Cardiff and Vale College | Cardiff Rugby)
Abi Meyrick (Coleg Gwent Crosskeys | Dragons RFC)
Chloe Gant (Bridgend College | Ospreys)
Molly Wakely (Coleg Gwent Crosskeys | Dragons RFC)
Elan Jones (Ceirw Nant | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Cadi-Lois Davies (Lampeter Ladies | Scarlets)
Milly Summer (Llandovery College | Scarlets)
Alaw Pyrs (Hartpury College | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Robyn Davies (West Swansea Hawkes | Ospreys)
Erin Jones (Ceirw Nant | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Poppy Ellis (Chester | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Catrin Stewart Môn Stars Llangefni | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Katie Sims (Cardiff and Vale College | Cardiff Rugby)
Maisie Davies (Burry Port | Scarlets)
Gwennan Hopkins (Hartpury College | Cardiff Rugby)
Katie Bevans (Jesters | Dragons RFC)
Sian Jones (Sale Sharks | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Carys Whitfield (Sale Sharks | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Rachel Thomas-Evans (Cardiff Quins RFC | Cardiff Rugby)
Hannah Lane (Sale Sharks | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Molly-mae Powell (Nelson Belles | Dragons RFC)
Kelsie Webster (Hartpury College | Rygbi Gogledd Cymru)
Savannah Picton-Powell (Nelson Belles | Dragons RFC)
Nia Fajeyisan (Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr | Cardiff Rugby)
Carys Hughes (Hartpury College | Scarlets)
Bronwen Griffin (Ysgol Y Strade | Scarlets)
Rhiannon Griffin (Ysgol Y Strade | Scarlets)
Six Nations Under-18 Women’s Festival – Wellington College
Wales U18s women’s fixtures
Friday, April 7: (35 minute games)
England v Wales – 10amWales v Scotland – 12pm
Tuesday, April 11: (35 minute games)
Wales v France – 4pmItaly v Wales – 5pm
Saturday, April 15 (70 minutes)
Ireland v Wales – 2.15pm