Dragons young gun: 'Old heads' can fire Wales U20s challenge

11:53am Monday 28th April 2014

FLY-HALF Angus O'Brien hopes the Wales Under-20s 'veterans' can help this year's squad go one better than the class of 2013 in the Junior World Championship, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 19-year-old from Caerleon is one of 11 Newport Gwent Dragons youngsters that will be heading to June's tournament in New Zealand.

They have a lot to live up to after a stunning campaign in France last year when only a second-half comeback by England in the final prevented them from lifting the trophy.

Cross Keys fly-half O'Brien hopes that Dragons stars Hallam Amos, Jack Dixon and Elliot Dee, who started against the English, can lend a helping hand to the members of the 28-man squad that are set to experience a Junior World Championship for the first time.

"I'm over the moon to be selected and get the opportunity to go out to New Zealand and play against the best in the world at my age," said O'Brien.

"We have a lot of experience in the squad with the boys that played in the final last year and hopefully they will help those of us that are involved in a Junior World Championship for the first time."

Wales will have to be on song to make it to the semi-finals after being drawn in Group B along with Ireland, France and Fiji.

Byron Hayward's young guns head Down Under on the back of a mixed Six Nations campaign in which they finished third after suffering defeats to Les Bleus and England, the latter of which was a humiliating 67-7 thumping in Newcastle.

"We had a couple of mishaps and the England game wasn't too great but we bounced back against Scotland. We experienced a big defeat but also experienced a good number of wins," said O'Brien.

It promises to be a busy few weeks for the Cross Keys fly-half, who will be hoping to be a member of the matchday squad in Sunday's Swalec Cup final against Pontypridd at the Millennium Stadium.

The Pandy Park outfit also take on Carmarthen Quins in the Premiership playoff semi-final on Sunday, May 11 and victory would earn a clash for the title against Ponty the following week.

That would rule O'Brien – and Keys flanker Scott Matthews, lock Scott Andrews and prop Luke Garrett – out of the Junior World Championship warm-up clash against Scotland in Bridgend on Wednesday, May 14.


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