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Cook captains youthful Cardiff Blues A side

Age Grade & Academy | 12th September 2019

Macauley Cook will captain a youthful Cardiff Blues A side as they continue their Celtic Cup campaign against Ospreys on Friday.

Following a bonus point win over Dragons A on Saturday, Wales’ Capital Region will look to make it back-to-back victories at Brewery Field against their Welsh rivals.

Cook, James Botham and Ethan Lewis provide experience in an otherwise young pack, which includes academy members Will Davies King and Teddy Williams.

Wales under-18 prop, Theo Bevacqua, is given the nod at loosehead prop, while former Wales under-20 international Aled Ward and Tim Grey combine with Botham in the back row.

An academy half back partnership is named in the form of Ethan Lloyd and Rhys Davies, while Dafydd Smith returns on the wing, having impressed against Ulster A. The Wales Sevens player is joined by Alex Varney and Jacob Beetham in the back three.

Cardiff Blues and Wales under-18 back, Mason Grady, is named at outside centre, having starred on the international stage during the summer tour to South Africa, and links up with Josh Male in midfield.

Joint head coach, Gethin Jenkins, said: “With the senior side heading to Bedford for a pre-season game, and the Premiership clubs back in action, the squad depth is tested, but it presents a big opportunity for younger boys to gain valuable experience and put their hands up for future selection.

“With a lot of the boys still eligible for age grade rugby, it’s going to be a big step up for them in terms of preparation and quality of rugby, but at the same time it will be a huge learning curve.

“Of course, we’ll be looking to the likes of Macauley, Jim and Ethan to lead from the front, but you’ve also got boys like Dafydd Smith, Tim Grey, Rhys Davies and Will Davies King who will have to take leadership roles, having been part of the group since the start of the competition.”

Hooker Cameron Lewis and Ben Warren retain their place on the bench, and are joined by a number of Cardiff Blues under-18 players, including Theo Cabango, who impressed against Ospreys-under-18 on Wednesday.

Following the Bridgend encounter, Wales’ Capital Region travel to Munster next week before welcoming Connacht Eagles and Scarlets A to the Arms Park on September 28 and October 4 respectively.

Cardiff Blues A: Jacob Beetham; Dafydd Smith, Mason Grady, Josh Male, Alex Varney; Rhys Davies, Ethan Lloyd; Theo Bevacqua, Ethan Lewis, Will Davies King, Teddy Williams, Macauley Cook (capt), Aled Ward, James Botham, Tim Grey

Replacements: Cameron Lewis, Freddie Barnes, Ben Warren, Rhys Anstey, Gwilym Bradley, Zak Bartlett, Theo Cabango, Dylan Williams