Crawshay's WRU President's XV squad to tour Georgia :: 26 May 14:05

A host of Principality Premiership players will represent Wales in Georgia next week as part of a two-match tour.

The Crawshay’s WRU President’s XV will play Georgia Under 25 (Wednesday 2 June) and Emerging Georgia (Saturday 6 June) at Rustavi Stadium as part of a commitment by the Welsh Rugby Union to support the Welsh Government’s efforts to improve links with the country.

The WRU has linked up with Crawshay’s in order to fulfil this commitment and the side will be coached by former Carmarthen Quins head coach Louie Tonkin. Pontypridd’s Gavin Dacey will captain the outfit and also coach the backs while Bedwas prop Deri Mattravers will be player/ coach of the forwards.

Tonkin said, “These Georgian international teams will be incredibly competitive, especially up front and we must front up to that challenge. We have a strong unit of our own with a large contingent from Premiership finalists Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale and other experienced forwards.

“However we were determined to get a good balance in our squad in order to remain faithful to the Crawshay’s philosophy of playing some open, running rugby, and we have some strong runners in our Pontypridd centres Gavin Dacey and Dafydd Lockyer, along with some exciting youngsters such as Llanelli’s Justin James and Neath’s Tom James.

“It will be a tough ask with a 26 man squad and two games in four days, but it’s a huge honour for all the players and management and we are determined to give a good account of ourselves. “

The squad trained with the Wales Under 20 squad on the weekend before leaving for Georgia next weekend.

WRU president Dennis Gethin said, "Georgia is a proud, rugby playing nation and alongside supporting the Welsh Government’s objectives, we see it part of our remit to play and travel to countries outside of the Tier One nations in order to support the development of rugby. We are pleased to be working with Crawshay’s in order to fulfil this commitment and we are now very much looking forward to the challenge of the matches”.

Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM, who has had links with Georgia for the past 20 years, said:

“The national sport in Wales is rugby and this is one of the things that brings Wales and Georgia together. Georgia has a remarkable tradition of rugby and has produced many great players over the years. I was delighted to be able to announce at the Queen’s Birthday Celebration in Tblisi last June that the Welsh Rugby Union would send a team to Georgia to celebrate the special relationship between our two countries.”

Crawshay’s WRU President’s XV squad:
Gavin Dacey Pontypridd (Captain ), Geraint O’Driscoll (Newport), Jamie Davies (Neath), Elliot Frewen (Newport), Patrick Tapley (Bedford Blues), Llywarch Ap Myrddin (Newport), Dafydd Lockyer (Pontypridd), Matthew Jacobs (Llandovery), David Langdon (Ebbw Vale), Kieran Meek (Newbridge), Tom James (Neath), Justin James (Llanelli)

Forwards: Lewis Smout (Cardiff), John Lavender (Ebbw Vale), Richard Wilkes (Bedwas), Huw Dowden (Pontypridd), Ross Davies (Doncaster Knights), Kieron Jenkins (Pontypridd), Damien Hudd (Ebbw Vale), Adam Brown (Newport), Ashley Sweet (Ebbw Vale), Dan Godfrey (Pontypridd), Deri Mattravers (Bedwas), Shaun Miles (Llandovery), Edward Siggery (Moseley), Rhys Shellard (Pontypridd)