Wales leave for South Africa on Monday and kick off the series with a tough challenge against South Africa Schools on Friday. They then play Italy on Tuesday 16 and South Africa Schools A on Saturday 20 August.
The majority of the squad represented Wales U18 last season and could go on to push for Wales U20 honours next season with the tour very much seen as a way to bridge the gap between the two age groups.
There are five players who haven’t yet played for Wales U18 – centres Dylan Moss and Cameron Lewis, props Tom Mably and Connor Lewis, along with full back Jared Rosser but he was capped by Wales U20 at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester.
Lewis said, “The boys been working very hard to get ready for this tour and they are very much looking forward to it. We are making some strides individually and as a team so hopefully by the time we get out there we’ll be ready to take on South Africa.
“At age grade level, this Series is a great opportunity to experience different styles of rugby, and different cultures too. The focus of the tour is to get players ready for Under 20 international rugby next season, the players will hopefully learn a huge amount that they can take forward to the next level.
“South Africa is a great rugby playing nation, and their schools rugby is as strong as any nation in the world. They have only ever lost one game in this tournament and that was to a strong England side so we will need to be at our best to compete next Friday.”
Five players based outside Wales are included in the squad – Jordan Liney, Jim Botham, Morgan Morris, Dylan Moss and Will Talbot-Davies. Lewis said, “It is pleasing to see the Welsh qualified players from outside Wales in our group. They are very proud to represent Wales, they add strength in depth to our squad and with a number of Under 18 aged players having already played for Wales U20, exposing more players to international rugby at this level can only help Welsh rugby in the long term.”
Wales U18 squad for International Series in South Africa:
Jared Rosser (Dragons/ Ebbw Vale/ Newport High School), Will Talbot Davies (Dragons / Solihull), Corey Baldwin (Scarlets/ Llandovery College), Joe Goodchild (Dragons/ Coleg Gwent/ Garndiffaith), Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets/ Sir Gar), Ben Thomas (Blues/ Cardiff & Vale Coll, St Peters), Dylan Moss (Ospreys/ Wellington College), Cameron Lewis (Blues/ Wattstown/ Cymoedd), Ben Jones (Blues/ Treharris/ Cymoedd), Phil Jones (Ospreys/ Gowerton/ Gowerton), Owain Leonard (Dragons/ Abergavenny / Gwynlliw), Dane Blacker (Blues/Cymoedd / Pontypridd);
Rhys Carre (Blues/ Cardiff/ Cowbridge), Connor Lewis (Blues/ Beddau/ Cymoedd), Harri Dobbs (Blues/ Cowbridge/ St Peters ), Tom Mably (Blues/ St Peter’s, Cymoedd), Jordan Liney (Ospreys/ Dunvant/ Hartbury), Corrie Tarrant (Blues/ Pontypridd/ Cymoedd), Christian Coleman (Dragons / Garndiffaith/ Newport High), Callum Bradbury (Blues/ Beddau/ Cymoedd), Will Griffiths (Ospreys/ Gowerton/ Gowerton), James Ratti (Ospreys/Aberavon/Gower), Max Williams (Dragons/ Newport High), Will Jones (Ospreys/ Penclawdd/ Gower), James Botham (Blues/ Sedburgh School), Joe Thomas (Dragons / Penallta / Coleg Gwent), Morgan Morris (Gloucester / Hartpury College)
Fri 12 August 4pm South Africa Schools v Wales (City Park Stadium, Crawford)
Tues 16 August 1pm Wales v Italy (Bishops Diocesan College, Rondebosch)
Sat 20 August 4pm South Africa Schools A v Wales (Paarl Boys High, Paarl)
Highlights from all three Wales U18 games will be shown on S4C as follows:
12, 16 and 20 August 9.30pm, S4C.