Four players from Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf’s successful rugby league side are hoping to get a taste of international rugby league for the first time.
Having only lost two matches in 26 outings over the last four years in the Champion Schools competition for the Cardiff-based school, Josh Atkinson, Gwilym Evans, Iwan Johnes and Iwan Pyrs-Jones have been selected for the Wales under 16 squad and will hope to earn a place in the side to face England in September.
Evans captained the Glantaf side in their Year 7 final win at Wembley in 2015 with Pyrs-Jones also hitting the headlines with one of the Stadium’s most memorable tries. They won last year’s year 9 final, just days before Wales under 16s beat England last year.
Remarkably, seven of that Wales line-up are still young enough for this year’s side, so Ewan Badham, Ieaun Badham, Kyle Huish, Jacob Lee, Harvey McDaid, Keenan McDaid and Shaun Webber will get a second chance against the old enemy.
In addition to the 11 players from Wales’ two most successful junior sides in recent years, the 29-man squad contains players who have starred in Champion Schools, the Welsh and English community game and in the English academy set-up, with 23 of the players currently studying in Welsh schools.
Wales have also named their assistant coach in Peter Eccles, who is also currently the head coach of Wigan St Judes under 18s and Lancashire under 17s.
He was present at the final under 16s trials earlier this month, working alongside head coach Jason Seddon. Commenting on his appointment and final squad line-up, Eccles said: “I was really proud and taken aback by being asked to join the Wales u16s Coaching staff.
“I have been involved coaching youth rugby at u18s level at Wigan St Judes for nearly nine years and I took the step up to county representative level four years ago as part of the BARLA Lancashire u17s coaching staff which again was a massive honour.
“After taking the phone call from Jason and proudly accepting this offer to join the Wales staff, I have been massively impressed at the professionalism of the whole Wales set up so far. The trial matches that took place before naming this final squad really opened my eyes to the high level of talent that there is in Wales at this age group, which gave us plenty headaches in the final selection.
“I’m really looking forward to start coaching these young lads along with the rest of the coaching staff who have all helped me settle in really well this last month or so and I cannot wait to get started.”
NAME POSITION SCHOOL COMMUNITY CLUB PROFESSIONAL ACADEMY
Benjamin Harris Full Back Afon Taf High School, Merthyr Tydfil Aber Valley Wolves
Shaun Webber Centre Afon Taf High School, Merthyr Tydfil Cardiff Blue Dragons
Jac Lloyd Pivot Clifton College, Bristol
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso Winger Corpus Christi RC High School, Cardiff
David Yulu-Nzamba Winger Corpus Christi RC High School, Cardiff
George Sheppard Centre Cwmtawe Community School, Swansea West Wales Raiders
Cian Rhys Loose/Centre/Wing Great Sankey High School, Warrington Burtonwood Bulldogs Salford Red Devils
Brynmor Bradley Centre Hinchley Wood School, London London Broncos
Ewan Challenger Winger Lewis School, Pengam Cardiff Blue Dragons West Wales Raiders
Ewan Badham Prop Milford Haven Comprehensive School Llanelli Knights City of Hull
Ieaun Badham Prop Milford Haven Comprehensive School Llanelli Knights City of Hull
Morgan Jones Loose Forward Radyr Comprehensive School, Cardiff
Harvey McDaid Full Back Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College, Halton Halton Farnworth Hornets St Helens
Keenan McDaid Hooker Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College, Halton Halton Farnworth Hornets St Helens
Lewis Gough Winger St John Baptist Church in Wales School, Aberdare
Cameron Samuel Half Back St John Baptist Church in Wales School, Aberdare
Callum Penn Hooker St Joseph’s RC High School, Newport Aber Valley Wolves
William Oates Loose Forward St Martin’s School, Caerphilly Aber Valley Wolves
Luis Roberts Centre St Mary’s Catholic High School, Astley Hindley ARLFC Salford Red Devils
Reilly Scriven Prop The Dean Academy, Lydney Torfaen Tigers
Kyle Huish Half/Hooker Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Caerphilly Aber Valley Wolves Wigan Warriors
Jacob Lee Prop/Backrow Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Caerphilly Aber Valley Wolves Wigan Warriors
Ieuan Hancock Second Row Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool Torfaen Tigers
Joshua Atkinson Hooker Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, Cardiff Wigan Warriors
Gwilym Evans Pivot Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, Cardiff
Iwan Johnes Pivot Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, Cardiff
Iwan Pyrs-Jones Winger Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, Cardiff Wigan Warriors
Trystan Rawlings Backrow/Prop Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur, Swansea West Wales Raiders
Kieran Lewis Loose forward Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur, Swansea