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Wales name team for U20 Championship opener

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WALES have named their side to face Australia in this Wednesday’s (May 30) opening day of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Béziers (20:00 BST).

Cai Evans (Ospreys) starts at fullback, with Rio Dyer (Dragons) and Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets) on the wings. An all-Scarlet midfield features Ioan Nicholas at 12 and Corey Baldwin at 13, alongside a Cardiff Blues combination of fly-half Ben Jones and scrum-half Dane Blacker.

Loosehead Rhys Carre and hooker Iestyn Harris (both Cardiff Blues) are joined in the front row by tighthead Rhys Henry (Ospreys). There is considerable size in the second row, with Bath Rugby’s Rhys Davies and Dragons’ Max Williams each standing over 6’6” tall.

Blindside Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers, pictured) continues in the captaincy role he first took up during this year’s U20 Six Nations, with Dan Davis (Scarlets) and Taine Basham (Dragons) completing the energetic back row.

Three uncapped players are named on the bench: prop Rhys Davies (Scarlets), and two late call-ups to the squad in tighthead Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues) and back rower Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets).

“Selection has been very difficult, with the entire squad working hard and putting in lots of preparation for the World Rugby U20 Championship,” said head coach Geraint Lewis. “Competition for places is strong, but we’ve gone with the team which we feel is best suited to the challenge presented to us by Australia.”

“It’s quite an experienced team, with some players having enjoyed exposure to the Guinness Pro14 this year. Due to our approach during the Six Nations in giving opportunities to the entire squad, we’ve got a strong nucleus of players who are adept and happy at U20 level. Hopefully those experiences can hold them in good stead on Wednesday.”

The Junior Wallabies represent the first of three challenges in Wales’ pool, followed by New Zealand (June 3) and Japan (June 7). “Australia are a formidable rugby nation that always produce talented players,” Lewis said of a team Wales met in the pool stage last year in Georgia. “With the limited footage we’ve seen of them, we know they’re a big side, and from last year’s encounter we’re aware that they present a real challenge with ball in hand.”

Lewis accepted that the weather in the south of France might suit the Australian style of play, but insisted his team were equally looking forward to playing in such conditions. “It’s exciting for us to play southern hemisphere opposition, not least because it’s quite new for most of the squad. It’s what we’re here for: to test ourselves against the best.”

Wales U20 v Australia U20 at the Stade de la Méditerranée will be shown live on S4C, with coverage starting from 19:45 BST.

Wales U20 team to face Australia:

15 Cai Evans (Ospreys)

14 Rio Dyer (Dragons)

13 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets)

12 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets)

11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets)

10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues)

9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues)

1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues)

2 Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues)

3 Rhys Henry (Ospreys)

4 Rhys Davies (Bath Rugby)

5 Max Williams (Dragons)

6 Tommy Reffell (c) (Leicester Tigers)

7 Dan Davis (Scarlets)

8 Taine Basham (Dragons)

Replacements

16 Dewi Lake (Ospreys)

17 Rhys Davies (Scarlets)

18 Will Davies-King (Cardiff Blues)

19 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Scarlets)

20 Lennon Greggains (Dragons)

21 Harri Morgan (Ospreys)

22 Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues)

23 Joe Goodchild (Dragons)

Sport

Llangwm seal dramatic Harrison Allen win

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LLANGWM booked their place in the second round of the Harrison Allen Bowl as they beat Llechryd in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night (May 12).

In a low scoring game, Llechryd reached 104-9 in their 22 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Llangwm were steady in their reply but they needed five runs off the final two balls. The first of those saw Llangwm take three and they were able to run two on the last to win the game.

Llechryd started well with John Curran hitting a four and a six in a score of 19 before he was bowled by Chris Inward.

Johnny Lewis reached a score of 13 but that proved to be unlucky as he was caught by Phil Llewellyn off the bowling of Joe Phillips.

Phillips also had the wickets of David Dunfee and Adam Betts while Inward bowled both Graham Keen and John Lumb as all four batsmen returned with ducks to their name.

Joe Mansfield spared Llechryd’s blushes as he hit four boundaries in a knock of 38 as they set Llangwm 105 to win the game.

Llangwm were in trouble early on in their reply as David Dunfee bowled Phil Llewellyn for a second ball duck and Joe Kiff on a score of 4 to leave them reeling on 10-2.

However, a third-wicket stand of 84 between Steven Mills and Noah Davies set Llangwm on their way to victory.

Llechryd hit back though as Andrew Fletcher denied Mills his half century as he was caught by Jonny Lewis on a score of 49.

Fletcher then trapped Luke Brock leg before wicket with the next ball to reduce Llangwm to 94-4.

Davies had made a good score of 30 but he was bowled by Graham Keen as the visitors were left needing five runs to win with time running out.

On the penultimate ball Chris Inward ran three and on the last, Matthew Kiff ran the two runs needed to win Llangwm the game in a thrilling finish.

The result also represented another mini shock as Division 1 side Llechryd exited the competition at the hands of their Division 2 opponents.

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Johnston send Tish packing in Harrison Allen

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DIVISION 3 side Johnston produced one of the early shocks of this year’s Harrison Allen Bowl as they knocked out Division 1 side St Ishmaels.

Johnston won the toss and chose to field and they did well to restrict Tish to a score of 99-7 from their 22 overs.

They were in trouble early on as Peter Bradshaw was caught by Chris Goodridge off the bowling of Mark Hicks.

Keegan Codd then took over as he had Harry Nicholas stumped by Liam Boswell, also on a score of 8, before getting the wickets of Brennan Devonald and Ieuan Hawkins.

Tish were reduced to 27-4 and that soon became five as Codd claimed figures of 4-16 from his six overs.

Andrew Williams and Lewis Rhead then steadied the innings for the visitors as they shared over 60 runs for the sixth wicket.

Williams made 25 before he fell to Lewis Boswell and Rhead made 36 before being bowled by Gary James.

There was little time for Tish to add any further runs and it meant that Johnston would need 100 to win.

Johnston lost opener Goodridge early but a stand of 41 from Leigh Walters and Geno Cleal set them on their way to victory.

Walters made 26 before being bowled by Lewis Rhead and soon after, Brennan Devonald had Josh Hicks caught on a score of 2.

Devonald then picked up the wicket of Cleal, who made a score of 23, as Tish began to hit back.

Lewis Boswell made a score of 10 as Johnston edged closer but it was a score of 11 not out from Liam Boswell to see their side over the line.

The winning Johnston team

Johnston captain Josh Hicks said: “An amazing team performance, Tish may have been missing a couple but so were we.

“Two years ago we couldn’t field a team in this cup. We’ve come along way, tonight is a real positive and just the start!”

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Bush qualifies for Paralympic games

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PEMBROKESHIRE’s Para-taekwondo star Matt Bush has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic games this summer.

At the European Paralympic Qualification tournament, Bush, who is the current world champion, beat Hungary’s Zoltan Kiss 29-1 in the +75kg final.

Para-taekwondo will make its debut at this summer’s Paralympics with the competition set to take place from September 2-4.

Bush, from St Clears, became Britain’s first ever world champion in the sport in 2019 began his latest tournament in fine style, seeing off Roman Ivaniuk of Ukraine 38-2 in the semi-final.

Matt told BBC Sport that it felt ‘so good’ to have secured his spot in the team.

The heavyweight athlete has made quite the mark on the mats. He has medalled at the Korean Open, Oceania Para Taekwondo Championships and the Pan America Para Taekwondo Open.

The GB team for Tokyo will be officially announced later this summer.

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