Wales U16 head coach Mark Jones has named a 36-player train-on squad to prepare to face England Lions at Stadiwm Zipworld in Colwyn Park on Sunday 22 August (kick-off 2pm).
The match, which will celebrate 20 years of junior international rugby league in Wales, is the first of a double header which also sees the two sides meet at U17 level at 4pm.
Jones, who is assisted by Wayne Ponting and the former Wales men’s head coach Stuart Wilkinson, has selected all of his players from the successful domestic junior competition in South Wales, where over a thousand juniors have been playing from aged 8 to 17 this summer.
Players from the U17 league, who are aged 15-16, have been attending Wales Rugby League academy development sessions in association with Coleg y Cymoedd and Salford Red Devils throughout June and July, which have been a big success.
He says: “It’s fantastic that we can have a curtain raiser for the already organised U17 international in Colwyn Bay in August.
“With most our players not having a chance to play any representative rugby league in nearly two years, we thought this development squad needed an opportunity to highlight their talent.
“Due to restrictions, it has been a very short pathway programme but Wayne, Stuart and I are all excited to see what these players can do.”
Bridgend Blue Bulls, who are currently top of the WRL U17 league, provide the most players (10), whilst Aberavon Fighting Irish’s return to rugby league after 15 years could see their first international representative since 2006, which was when Aberavon’s Jason Keneally waltzed passed an Australian U18 backline, containing future test stars Israel Folau and Chris Lawrence, to score a try. History could be made if both Dafydd and Dylan Morgan are selected, as they could be the first brothers of a different age to play in the same Wales age-grade side.
WALES U16 TRAIN-ON SQUAD: Leon Caviel, Oliver Ford, Kian Godwin, Lewis Howells, Calum Jones (all Aber Valley Wolves), Jayden Grimes, William McCarthy, Isaac Morgan (all Aberavon Fighting Irish), Jacob Abbot, Lewis Dyke, Nick Evans, Jayden Grey, Josh Hanson, Llewellyn Hawkes, Brandon Richards, Charlie Stoddard, Harri Thomas, Dale Viant (all Bridgend Blue Bulls), John Baldwin, Daniel Bartlett, Josh Jackson, Dafydd Morgan, Dylan Morgan, Finlay Northrop, James Sprudd (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Jarrad Hippsley, Drew Hope, Connor Lacey, Peter Richmond, Bradley Williams, Evan Wood (all Cynon Valley Cavaliers), Benjamin Morris, Cory Westermark (both Swansea Stallions), Alex Banks, Carter Barnes, Tre Huddleston (all Torfaen Tigers).