Cardiff Blues players prepare for long summer of international action

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This summer has, and will continue to see, Cardiff Blues players in international action around the globe, as the eyes of the rugby world begin to focus on Japan.

Before that though there are other international competitions, as well as long training camps that need to be completed, before the Rugby World Cup gets underway in late September.

We have already completed one competition, with the World Rugby U20 Championships taking place in Argentina last month, and Wales U20 battling to a sixth place finish, their best in three years.

There was strong Cardiff Blues involvement from tighthead prop Ben Warren, who started three of the five games and came off the bench in the other two, in his first year playing at this level, and performed well, while Max Llewellyn was consistent at outside centre.

Ioan Davies was the standout player from a Cardiff Blues perspective, starting every game at full-back and combining a sharp attacking showing with a very capable defensive performance, in terms of positioning, ability under the high ball, and effectiveness in the tackle.

Teddy Williams was also in the squad and looked competent at the lineout, although game time was restricted due to exams, while Ioan Rhys Davies also struggled for minutes after being flown out as an injury replacement, but both will still be involved for the U20s next season.

Ioan Davies England U20
Ioan Davies was consistently good for Wales U20

Onto the senior team and Warren Gatland’s squad have met up at The Vale Resort ahead of a gruelling training camp that will take them to the Swiss Alps, the Turkish heat and through games against England and Ireland.

Dillon Lewis, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and Owen Lane are all vying for a spot on the plane to Japan, while Rhys Carre and Gareth Anscombe are also involved on the back of their season with Cardiff Blues, although have since signed elsewhere.

New signings Hallam Amos and Josh Adams are also in the training squad, with Wales’ Capital Region hoping to at least match the contribution of six players we made to the 2015 World Cup squad.

There is also Cardiff Blues representation in the Samoa squad, with Rey Lee-Lo set to play a key part in their World Cup campaign after a fine season at the Arms Park. First though they will compete in the Pacific Nations Cup, with the Pacific Islanders playing Tonga, USA and Fiji across late July and early August.

Canada will also be involved in the PNC before heading to the World Cup, with Cardiff Blues Academy Manager Gruff Rees again linking up with the Canucks as backs coach under Kingsley Jones.

Finally, a nod to the former Cardiff Blues involved around the world, with Blaine Scully and Cam Dolan involved with the USA Eagles, Pele Cowley and Filo Paulo joining Lee-Lo with Samoa, Campese Ma’afu selected by Fiji, and Danny Wilson coaching Scotland’s forwards.

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