Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Wales continue to trust in youth

Liam Williams

Wales will continue to put an emphasis firmly on their exciting young generation in Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against the Barbarians.

Full-back Liam Williams, wing Harry Robinson and prop Rhodri Jones - they have a combined age of just 60 - all make Test debuts as Wales sign off the season at home before heading to Australia for a three-Test tour.

The trio provide further evidence that not only is the production line of young Welsh talent still operating faultlessly, Wales' coaching team have maintained their stance of not being afraid to give youth its head. Scarlets prospect Williams said: "I was shocked when I was told I was playing on Saturday. This time last year, I was scaffolding."

He added: "To actually go and train and play professionally has been great. After the Junior World Cup last year, I went into rugby full-time, and it has gone really well.

"But I couldn't have imagined being part of all this a year ago - it has been crazy. I am glad to be picked, and hopefully I can express myself and have a really good game."

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar, meanwhile, has been hailed as "a wonderful talent" ahead of his return to the international arena.

It is just over 18 months since he last wore Wales' number 10 shirt, but Biggar has probably never been better-placed to start putting pressure on World Cup and Six Nations playmaker Rhys Priestland.

"Dan is a wonderful talent," said Wales number eight Ryan Jones. "He has had a tough time over recent months, but he is a guy who works incredibly hard.

"He has been massively influential for the Ospreys this entire season, and with his kicking performances he has been the ultimate professional.

"But I think he has started to develop a more rounded game which could see him have the potential to go on, if he keeps believing, to bigger and better things."