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It’s the chance to see some of Welsh Rugby’s finest emerging talent as Wales’ four new Premiership Select teams take part in the British & Irish Cup this weekend.

The cross border competition will run on European weekends, with the four pro rugby teams working alongside Wales’ Premiership clubs in their regions to provide promising players with high quality game time.

The Cup will also see upcoming coaches both in the Premiership and Pro Rugby set-ups given the responsibility of preparing the sides while the first teams are battling it out in Europe.

Cardiff Blues Premiership Select start the exciting B&I Cup action this weekend at their home ground of BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon (2.30pm KO).

Number Eight Jevon Groves will captain an exciting young team – and pack down in the back row with Ben Roach and Macauley Cook – as the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select prepare for this season’s B&I Cup competition and the opener in Pool 4.

Scott Andrews adds his experience at tighthead prop and joins Bradley Thyer and Ethan Lewis up front. Miles Normandale and Chris Dicomidis complete the pack.

Scrum half Lewis Jones and fly half Gareth Davies combine at half back while the threat out wide is provided by Owen Jenkins and Richard Smith.

Wales Under-20 midfielder Garyn Smith and Adam Thomas play in the centre while Harry Davies.

Head Coach Richard Hodges said: “We are excited by the make-up of the team we have selected for the cup opener with Nottingham Rugby.

“We have a blend of experience and youth involved and players who have represented both Cardiff RFC and Pontypridd RFC this season.

“Nottingham will be a stern test and have been in form in the English Championship. However, we have a game plan and look forward to the challenge on home soil.”

Fans are advised that Season Ticket holders for Cardiff Blues gain FREE entry to the fixture while Season Ticket holders from Cardiff RFC and Pontypridd RFC gain entry for £5 with their Season ticket card. Adult entry is £10, concessions £8 and Kids for £1.

Cardiff Blues Premiership Select: 15 Harry Davies, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Adam Thomas, 11 Owen Jenkins, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Bradley Thyer, 2 Ethan Lewis, 3 Scott Andrews, 4 Miles Normandale, 5 Chris Dicomidis, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Ben Roach, 8 Jevon Groves (c)

Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Kieron Assiratti, 18 James Sheekey, 19 Shane Lewis Hughes, 20 Mike Hale, 21 James Thomas, 22 Will Rees-Hole

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS PREMIERSHIP SELECT

Hooker Hugh Gustafson will skipper the Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select when they take on Connacht Eagles at the Sportsground, in the opening round of the British and Irish Cup.

The Dragons stalwart will feature alongside a number of senior regional players including Geraint Rhys Jones, Angus O’Brien, Luc Jones and James Benjamin. The squad also includes Dragons skipper Thomas Rhys Thomas who has been named on the replacements bench. Premiership select coach James Chapron has also named a number of young exciting talent.

Fullback Geraint Rhys Jones is joined in the back three by Newport RFC wing Elliot Frewen and Dragons newbie Aaron Warren. The centre partnership sees Barney Nightingale and Adam Jones join forces. Dragons player Angus O’Brien is named as fly-half and is joined in the half backs by Luc Jones.

The hard hitting front row sees the inclusion of hooker Hugh Gustafson who packs down alongside Dragons players Luke Garrett and Lloyd Fairbrother. The second row includes Scott Andrews and Ebbw Vale star Ashley Sweet, with an impressive back row of Scott Matthews, James Benjamin and Harri Keddie.

The replacements bench includes Thomas Rhys Thomas, who makes his return to play from injury against Connacht. He is joined by Richard Cornock, Alex Jeffries, Adam Brown, Luke Crocker, Owen Davies and Arwel Robson.

Skipper Hugh Gustafson commented: “It will be a tough challenge but we are looking forward to it and have a great blend of senior Dragons, Premiership players and outstanding young talent coming through the academy. I look forward to leading a group who I believe can do something special in this tournament.”

Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select team to face Connacht Eagles

Geraint Rhys Jones (Dragons), Elliot Frewen (Newport RFC), Barney Nightingale (Dragons Academy/ Newport RFC), Adam Jones (Ebbw Vale), Aaron Warren (Dragons), Angus O’Brien (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Luc Jones (Dragons); Luke Garrett (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Hugh Gustafson © (Dragons), Lloyd Fairbrother (Dragons/ Newport RFC), Scott Andrews (Dragons/ Cross Keys), Ashley Sweet (Ebbw Vale), Scott Matthews (Cross Keys), James Benjamin (Dragons), Harri Keddie (Dragons/ Ebbw Vale).

Replacements: Thomas Rhys Thomas (Dragons), Richard Cornock (Cross Keys), Alex Jeffries (Dragons/ Newport RFC), Adam Brown (Newport RFC), Luke Crocker (Ebbw Vale), Owen Davies (Dragons/ Newport RFC), Arwel Robson (Dragons Academy/ Newport RFC).

James Chapron has been busy preparing the new look squad for the match. Joining him on the coaching team are the following members of staff:

Greg Woods – CrossKeys Head Coach

Richie Rees – Academy Backs Coach

Nick Wakely – Assistant Coach from Ebbw Vale RFC

The rest of the management staff include Dragons physiotherapist Hannah Jones, who is joined by Academy staff Kat Lenon (Physiotherapist), Rhodri Williams (Conditioner), Owen Griffiths (Analyst) and Alex Mayne who will deal with logistics from Cross Keys.

Talking about the coming tournament, Chapron commented: “The British & Irish Cup is not only a great development opportunity for players to test themselves at a higher level but also for coaches.

“For myself and the Academy team, it is a great opportunity to work with senior players and link up with top players from the Gwent Premiership clubs. We have brought Greg Woods on board who has a great deal of experience in this competition having coached Cross Keys to the final in 2011. Nick Wakley also joins us from Ebbw Vale having had great success with the Dragons 7s team in the summer. Whilst also having excellent support from the Premiership clubs with player release and coaching support.

“As a coaching team we are really excited by the challenges that lie ahead.”

OSPREYS PREMIERSHIP SELECT

The Ospreys Premiership Select team will play Yorkshire Carnegie at Laund Hill on Sunday (KO 1.30pm) with the chance for some new faces to take their opportunities in the high-level competition.

Ospreys Premiership Select Head Coach, Dan Griffiths, said: “We’re really looking forward to our first foray into the British and Irish Cup this weekend as a Premiership Select team. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the young players from across the region to be involved with some of our more senior players and take part in a really interesting high-level competition.

“It’s a hard challenge for the players, and coaches, as we are bringing together a new squad in a relatively short space of time but it’s also a very exciting opportunity for all involved. As a team we faced a difficult start in our friendly against an experienced Blues side last week, but that provided us with a great chance to look at some of these young men and see what they can do. It also allowed the squad an opportunity to play together for the first time before we go up against some tough, professional teams in the competition.

“Yorkshire Carnegie aren’t a completely unknown quantity to us as a region. They played Aberavon RFC in the British and Irish Cup in 2013/14 and 2014/15, and in those years went on to reach the Final and Quarter Finals respectively, so we know to expect a very tough physical game from them. They are a fully professional team that play together week in week out but the squad have been training hard and know that if they remain clinical and accurate on the day they can do well.”

Ospreys Premiership Select team: 15 Richard Fussell; 14 Tom Williams; 13 Joe Thomas; 12 Owen Watkin; 11 Kristian Phillips; 10 Joel Matavesi; 9 Matthew Aubrey; 1 Marc Thomas; 2 Matthew Dwyer 3 Cai Griffiths; 4 Rhys Jones; 5 Rhodri Hughes; 6 Josh Cole; 7 Lloyd Evans; 8 Ifereimi Boladau

Replacements: 16 Ieaun Davies; 17 Dan Suter; 18 Cai Lewis; 19 Matthew Dodd; 20 Gareth Delve; 21 Reuben Morgan Williams; 22 Keelan Giles

SCARLETS PREMIERSHIP SELECT

The Scarlets have named a strong side for their British & Irish Cup opener on Sunday at Carmarthen Park to take on Bedford Blues (KO 3pm).

Coach Dai Flanagan has been able to call upon experienced regional players including Jordan Williams, George Earle and Ryan Elias, who have experience in both Guinness PRO12 and European Rugby Champions Cup, for the opening clash.

Looking ahead to the opening round Dai Flanagan said: “It’s an exciting opportunity for us as a coaching group to work with the best players from the clubs in the region; from Llandovery, Carmarthen Quins and Llanelli and as players they get to challenge themselves in a Scarlets shirt.

“This competition gives them an opportunity to do so against full time English outfits who are well drilled and used to winning. Bedford play an exciting brand of rugby, they have a really good backline to complement their pack. They have great squad depth and our boys have to match their physicality, we have to stay in the game. They know how to win games and our boys will have to stand up to the challenge.”

Scarlets Premiership Select side to take on Bedford Blues at Carmarthen Park, Sunday 15th November kick-off 3pm; 15 Will Thomas (Llandovery), 14 Dion Jones (Llanelli), 13 Jacob Cowley (Scarlets / Llandovery), 12 Mike Collins (Scarlets), 11 Jordan Williams (Scarlets / Llanelli), 10 Josh Lewis  (Scarlets / Llanelli), 9 Kieran Hardy (Scarlets / Carmarthen Quins), 1 Wyn Jones  (Scarlets / Llandovery), 2 Ryan Elias (Scarlets / Carmarthen Quins), 3 Ben Leung  (Scarlets / Llanelli), 4 George Earle (Scarlets / Llandovery), 5 Jack Jones (Scarlets / Llanelli), 6 Tom Phillips – captain (Scarlets / Llanelli), 7 Shaun Evans (Carmarthen Quins), 8 Jack Condy  (Scarlets / Llanelli)

Replacements; Torin Myhill (Scarlets / Llanelli), Dylan Evans (Scarlets / Llanelli), 18 Josh Helps (Scarlets / Carmarthen Quins), Owain Morgan (Llanelli), Connor Lloyd  (Scarlets / Carmarthen Quins), Billy McBryde (Scarlets / Llanelli), Rhodri Jones  (Scarlets / Llandovery)

Tickets are on sale now from Parc y Scarlets ticket office or pay upon entry on Sunday.