Wales will win the first-ever U16 Four Nations this Saturday if they beat England Lions at Leigh Miners Rangers.
And their U18 counterparts could also secure the title at that level, but the victors of that England v Wales game will face a six-week wait to see who lifts the trophy.
Wales U16 have won both of their games so far whilst England slipped up against Ireland with an 18-all draw earlier this month.
Wales go into the game on the back of a massive 84-4 win over Scotland a fortnight ago. Head coach Paul Berry said: “We were clinical, and that’s an area we were trying to work on and get better at over the last few months. We’re looking at peaking towards the right end of the season. Going back to June, both squads, England and Wales, were expected to be a bit rusty and I don’t think it was a high quality game from both sides. We’ve both played a couple of games since and trained a variety of times. Both teams will be looking to come away with a win.”
England U16 coach Tom Wood said: “As a group we’re excited to finish off the 2023 programme as strong as possible and we’re under no illusion how tough Saturday’s game will be. The game back in mid-summer between the sides was a really tough contest but I expect both teams to be at full tilt after playing all the other home nations which have been hugely competitive this year.
“We know Wales possess quality all over the field and they will be really well coached and come with a big support down to Leigh Miners Academy which will only add to the occasion and one we’re really looking forward to.”
Watch the game live below
The U18 table couldn’t be more even, with each side winning once and losing once so far, so whoever wins between Wales and England this Saturday will need to wait until October 29, which is when Ireland and Scotland meet in the final tournament match, to see who wins this title.
Wales U18s could have been top of the table had decisions gone their way in Scotland, but suffered a last-minute defeat earlier this month, so will hope to bounce back against England.
Head coach Richard Lewis said: “We are here at the last game of the home nations against our closest rivals England. This season has been a difficult one with a hard defeat against England in a warm-up game, then regathering as a squad and getting the victory against Ireland to narrowly losing recently against Scotland. The table shows that anybody can win on the day and take the spoils.
“We have worked on the processes and plan to get a win on Saturday. We know the physical game that England bring and how they play, but if we stick to our strengths and processes, we believe we will get the victory and more importantly that could bring the Home Nations Championship to Wales. The boys are prepared well and in a good position to make themselves and their family proud.
“We are carrying a few injuries but the trust and belief the boys have in each other has grown each week and it shows on the training park.”
England head coach Gary Hewer said: “Saturday will be a great occasion, we as a team will be looking for a reaction after our last game and will be looking at the areas where we can improve and wear the Lions shirt with pride.
“We know Wales will be representing their country with passion and desire and we’re looking forward to another competitive game which can go either way.”
Watch the game live below
England U16 squad: Jayden Aaron (Ashton Bears), Alex Golighty (Bentley), Lewis Pilling (Blackbrook Royals), Lucas Mulqueeny (Crosfields), Tyler Sykes (Dewsbury Celtic), Lloyd Stainton (Egremont Rangers), Jaylen Conway, Henley Donnan, Arben Pervizaj (all Hensingham), Stan Beaumont (Hull Wyke), Jack Bibey, Diego Walker (both Leigh Miners Rangers), Zac Mannion (Salford Roosters), Jack Jones (Shaw Cross Sharks), Alfie Cox, Layton Dockray (both Wath Brow Hornets), Xavier Dele Charley, Nathaniel Parker (both West Bank Bears), Kian Goodhand, Oliver Shallcross (both West Hull)
Wales U16 squad: Joseph Johnson, Ryan Jones, Morgan Marozelli, Henry Parker, Ethan Paterson, Kai Sengul, Finlay Walker (all Aber Valley Wolves), Leo Bonham, Nathan Davies, Alex Green, Jacob Jones, Owain Martin, Jake Nottingham (all Bridgend Blue Bulls), Kaden Johnson (Crosfields), Jacob Morris (Cynon Valley Cavaliers), Charlie Bennett, Harri Jacob, Iestyn Jones, Jake Sheppard, Kade Woodward (all Torfaen Tigers), Samuel Dickenson (Woolston Rovers), Sam Grice (York Acorn)
England U18 squad: Keane Elms, Luke Sutcliffe (both Blackbrook Royals), Daniel Knott (Dalton), Miller Dalton (Hensingham), Harley Nelson, Dylan Grears (both Kells), Joshua Blinkhorn (Millom), Lewis Davies, Scott Simmons (both Pilkington Recs), Ben Metcalf, Harry Sheridan (both Rochdale Mayfield), Tom Farren (Roose Pioneers), George Jameson (Salford Roosters), Jacob Haigh, Henry Ogden, Oliver Smart (all Siddal), Harry Barker (Waterhead Warriors), Devan Sharp (Wath Brow Hornets), Jack Lawler (West Hull), Malachi Price (Wigan St Judes)
Wales U18 squad: Oliver Ford*, Lewis Jones*, Cole MacDonald*, Ethan Stebbings (all Aber Valley Wolves), Harrison Doe, Jayden Grey, Llewelyn Hawkes, Donavan Rankin, Brandon Richards*, Charlie Stoddart, Rhys Thomas, Cory Westermark (all Bridgend Blue Bulls), Jamie Jenkins* (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Charlie Glover (Halton Farnworth Hornets/Salford Red Devils), Connor Lacey* (Cynon Valley Cavaliers/Salford Red Devils), George Birch, Dafydd Morgan*, Dylan Morgan* (all London Broncos), Mason Apsee*, Calum Jones*, Bryce Roberts (all Rhondda Outlaws), Alex Banks* (Torfaen Tigers)
*=also in the WRL Development Academy at Coleg y Cymoedd in 2023