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Wales A Team To Play Ireland A

Wales A Team To Play Ireland A


Wales A believe they have selected the right blend of youth and experience for the match against Ireland A in Cork on Saturday (2.30pm), with three uncapped players joined by a trio with nearly 150 caps between them.
Neath hooker Mefin Davies captains the side and is one of the three players uncapped at senior level, clubmate and prop Andrew Millward and Newport back row forward Alix Popham the others.
Neath lock Gareth Llewellyn (64 caps) returns to Wales A duty after a four-yearabsence with Bridgend centre Gareth Thomas (56 caps) and Newport lock Mike Voyle (29) also adding their experience.
Wales A lead the series between the sides with four wins to three since 1993. They last won in Ireland in 1998 (42-27 in Limerick), but team manager Ian Stephens has selected a side which he believes can win the tough away fixture.
“We’ve looked at the selection long and hard and were fortunate to have known the Irish line-up since last week,” said Stephens.
“The Wales A line-up therefore is what we feel to be the ideal mix of hardened experience and good young talent.”
Swansea No8 Geraint Lewis and Neath wing Shane Williams have also reached double figures in senior appearances, but the rest of the side are on the international learning curve and will benefit from playing the talented Irish.
“It’s unfortunate that other talented youngsters could not be included, but we felt that for this particular fixture we needed a backbone of players who’d played at the highest level,” added Stephens.
“Irish rugby is on a high and going to Cork for an opening fixture is a huge task. But, looking at the make up of this side, you have to believe that we have a very good chance of creating an upset.”

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Wales A: Adrian Durston (Bridgend), Gareth Wyatt (Pontypridd), Tom Shanklin (Saracens), Gareth Thomas (Bridgend), Shane Williams (Neath); Leigh Jarvis (Neath), Gareth Cooper (Bath); Iestyn Thomas (Ebbw Vale), Mefin Davies (Pontypridd, captain), Andrew Millward (Neath), Mike Voyle (Newport), Gareth Llewellyn (Neath), Alix Popham (Newport), Gavin Thomas (Bath), Geraint Lewis (Swansea)

Replacements: Gareth Williams (Bridgend), Martyn Madden (Llanelli), Deiniol Jones (Bridgend), Nathan Thomas (Bath), Andy Moore (Neath), Craig Warlow (Bridgend), Matthew J. Watkins (Newport)

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