Dragons prospect Hewitt could get chance to shine
THERE were several stellar names in the Wales Under-20s Six Nations squad but head coach Danny Wilson expects some of the less celebrated youngsters to be catching the eye over the coming weeks.
Wing Harry Robinson has scored a Test try, fly-half Rhys Patchell is next in line should anything happen to Dan Biggar or James Hook and a raft of players, including the Newport Gwent Dragons trio of back row forward Ieuan Jones, centre Jack Dixon and full-back Hallam Amos, have starred at regional level.
Their rapid rise means they will be doubling up in February and March, plying their trade in both the Six Nations and the RaboDirect Pro12.
Wilson wants to win but he is happy to send the youngsters back to their regions because he can see the long-term benefit.
The former Dragons forwards coach, who left Rodney Parade for the Scarlets last summer, makes no secret of how he views the Six Nations.
He still wants to beat his nearest rivals but the tournament serves primarily as preparation for the “pinnacle” that is the Junior World Championship.
And if he loses the services of some players because of regional calls then it will increase his pool of talent come the summer.
A case in point is bright Dragons prospect Ashton Hewitt, a dazzling winger who would be in the selection mix should Robinson head back to Cardiff Blues.
The livewire 18-year-old has a combination of serious pace and elusive running, as those who have seen him in action for Cross Keys last season and Newport this term will testify.
He is not part of the National Academy set-up but could be one of the less-hyped young guns to burst onto the scene in coming weeks.
Wilson said: “Ashton comes highly recommended by the Dragons and by Byron Hayward (Under-20s assistant coach and academy skills coach at Rodney Parade). He works with him a lot and is a big fan and what I have seen so far fully endorses that.
“Ashton’s communication is excellent for a young lad, he is brave and has a skill level that is still developing but is already good for someone of his age.
“I am delighted to have him as part of our squad and I believe he could be a very good example of the benefits that can come from Harry being released to play for his region.
“If he goes back to the Blues then Ashton gets the opportunity to be selected and exposed to this level of rugby, which means that when we go to the World Cup it’s not just Harry Robinson who has played five games.
“If Harry were to go down injured then we wouldn’t be throwing someone in at the deep end, we will have depth and the chance to rotate players if need be.”