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Macenzie Martin

Mackenzie Martins powers into the Scottish defence

Wales U20s fightback impresses Hayward

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A Wales U20 Development XV scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to overturn a halftime deficit to beat Scotland 26-22 at Cardiff Arms Park.

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Scotland led 17-5 at the break in bitterly cold conditions with Scarlets hooker Lewis Morgan crashing over to score Wales’ only points in the first half.

With both teams using the game for preparations for the forthcoming U20 Six Nations, the first half lacked flow despite both sides looking to play an attacking game.

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Wales came out of the blocks in the second half with Bath centre Louie Hennessey strolling over for a well worked try. Cardiff fly half Harrison James added the extras.

Wales narrowed the gap further when Scarlets’ Isaac Young scrambled over from close range before Wales seized the lead with the try of the match from Luca Giannini. The Scarlets back row picked up a loose ball and jinked his way clear from 35m. With James adding the conversion Wales led 26-17 with 10 minutes remaining.

Scotland probed but defiant defence by Wales held the visitors at bay until two minutes from time when the boys in blue ploughed over in the corner.

Wales managed to keep their defence intact for the remainder of the match to secure victory.

“It was an excellent exercise for us,” said Wales U20s head coach Byron Hayward.

“A lot of players put their hands up without a doubt, they surprised a lot of us. There were some really good performances, especially in the second half.

“We’ve only had three days training together so it’s understandable if there were a few mistakes. But we’ll focus on the positives – we scored a couple of nice tries.

“We’ve got quite a few boys to come back into this group so we’re in a good place. It’s a well done to the lads and congratulations on the back of three days preparation and the way the weather has been two days was in doors. They gave a bit of credit to the jersey and they showed a lot of character to fight back in the second half to get the win.”

Cardiff No 8 Mackenzie Martin was one of only two players in the match day squad who had featured for Wales in the U20 Six Nations Summer Series.

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“It’s different experience because I was looking up to the senior boys in the summer and now the younger ones are looking up to me so it’s a bit of a different situation. You have got to be more mature and take charge I suppose,” he said.

“The boys showed great character to come back after being down at half time. We showed determination and character to bring it back. There were a few discipline errors in the first half but we fixed that up in the second half and came away with the win.

“The game was 100 percent a worthwhile exercise. We had a good training week and came flying into the game. The effort was there for the whole week, and everyone gave it 100 per cent and more.”

Wales begin their Six Nations campaign in Colwyn Bay when they host defending champions Ireland on Friday February 3rd, 2023 in a first round fixture (KO 7pm).

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