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Eight Blues named in Wales U20s opener

2nd February 2016

Wales Under 20 head coach Jason Strange has named a balanced side with experience and youth for their opening Under 20 Six Nations match against Ireland on Friday - and the match day squad includes eight players from Cardiff Blues.

Elis-Wyn Benham, Harri Millard, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis and Shane Lewis-Hughes all start the game at Donnybrook. Robert Lewis, Morgan Sieniawski and Jarrod Evans are named among the replacements.

There are eight uncapped players in the starting line-up, while the likes of Owen Watkin, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard and Tom Phillips, who were all key players in last season's Wales Under 20 side, have also had significant regional game time this season.

Another regional player, Blues outside half Jarrod Evans, starts on the bench on Friday, along with Dragons prop Leon Brown, demonstrating the strength in depth of the squad in some positions.

Strange said: "We want to play a fast, attacking style of rugby that will pose questions of the opposition and the 3G pitch at Donnybrook will suit that approach.

"Donnybrook is a traditional destination for Welsh rugby fans on a Friday night during international weekends and we hope a good crowd will turn out to support the boys.

"We looked at the Six Nations as whole in our preparations and selection - the ultimate aim is to develop as many players as possible by exposing them to this level of international rugby.

"We have some injuries at the moment, in the forwards in particular, but we see that as an opportunity to give others a chance at this level."

Tomos Williams has been withdrawn from the squad through injury, while scrum half Reuben Morgan-Williams and prop Robert Lewis have been added.

Following Friday night's clash with Ireland, Wales Under 20 return to Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay for their first home match of the season, against Scotland.

Wales Under-20s v Ireland: Rhun Williams (RGC); Elis-Wyn Benham (Cardiff Blues), Harri Millard (Cardiff Blues), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Keelan Giles (Ospreys); Dan Jones (Scarlets), Declan Smith (Scarlets); Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Blues), Dafydd Hughes (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Tom Phillips (captain, Scarlets), Shaun Evans (Scarlets), Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons)

Replacements: Ifan Phillips (Scarlets), Robert Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Leon Brown (Newport Gwent Dragons), Bryce Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Joe Thomas (Ospreys)