Cardiff Academy back rower Alex Mann will captain a 32-man Wales U20 squad named by new head coach Ioan Cunningham for the upcoming U20 Six Nations.
Mann is one of eight players from the Arms Park who will be in contention to play on their home ground over the next few weeks, our best representation in at U20 Six Nations squad since the 2017 tournament when the likes of now full internationals Rhys Carre, James Botham and Owen Lane were involved.
He is joined by Theo Bevacqua at loosehead prop, Efan Daniel at hooker and Nathan Evans on the tighthead, with fellow back rower Evan Lloyd also included. Half-back pairing Ethan Lloyd and Ben Burnell are included in the backs, alongside full-back Jacob Beetham who can also play at fly-half.
Pontypridd centre Ioan Evans is also selected having previously played for Cardiff age grade sides and ahead of re-joining the club this summer, however there is disappointment for Theo Cabango as the winger misses out with a shoulder injury picked up in training, and for Mason Grady as the centre continues to be sidelined by a knee problem.
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is not selected as he concentrates on his studies with the blessing of Cardiff and the Welsh Rugby Union.
Bevacqua and Beetham are two of six players who return from the 2020 squad, with Ospreys lock James Fender, his club-mate centre Joe Hawkins, Scarlets fly-half Sam Costelow, and Exeter outside back Dan John also playing in their second tournament.
There is plenty of excitement over the size of the U20 pack with Exeter’s Christ Tshiunza, formerly of Cardiff, and Scarlets’ Carwyn Tuipulotu, a cousin of Taulupe Faletau, providing some additional grunt that has been lacking in recent years.
Wales U20 Six Nations squad
Forwards: Garyn Phillips (Ospreys), Theo Bavaqua (Cardiff Blues), Cameron Jones (Ospreys), Efan Daniel (Cardiff Blues), Ollie Burrows (Exeter Chiefs), Connor Chapman (Dragons), Nathan Evans (Cardiff Blues), Lewys Jones (USON Nevers), Zak Giannini (Llanelli Wanderers), Joe Peard (Dragons), James Fender (Ospreys), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Rhys Thomas (Ospreys/Aberavon), Alex Mann (Capt – Cardiff Blues), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Harri Deaves (Ospreys), Tristan Davies (Ospreys), Carwyn Tuipulotu (Scarlets), Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues)
Backs: Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Blues), Morgan Richards (Dragons/Pontypridd), Carrick McDonnough (Dragons), Eddie James (Scarlets), Tom Florence (Ospreys), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), Ioan Evans (Pontypridd), Daniel John (Exeter Chiefs), Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Will Reed (Dragons), Ben Burnell (Cardiff Blues), Harri Williams (Scarlets), Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues)