While there was plenty for home coach Bryon Hayward to feel pleased about, there were also broad smiles on the faces of Poland’s Welsh coach Christian Hitt as he experimented with his squad for the final time before heading into the Rugby Europe Championship.
Hayward’s side launch their Six Nations U20 campaign against last year’s Grand Slammers, Ireland, in Colwyn Bay on Friday, 3 February. Meanwhile, Hitt’s Polish squad step into the top tier of European rugby outside the Six Nations with a game in Bucharest against World cup bond Romania.
It doesn’t get any easier for them with a home clash with another nation heading to the World Cup in France later this year, Portugal, and two weeks later they take on Poland.
Earlier in the season they came over the Wales and beat both Cross Keys and Cardiff Met and Hitt, who used to work as a development officer at the WRU, was keen to step up a level on his latest trip ‘back home’.
“The WRU have been fantastic in arranging for us to stay and train at the Vale of Glamorgan and it has been a real eye opener for our players, the majority of who are total amateurs, to see what sort of facilities one of the world’s top rugby nations uses to develop its players,” said Hitt.
“Being able to play a fixture against Byron’s U20 squad was brilliant for us. We included a number of younger players to give them the chance to assess themselves against a team that is preparing for a major championship.”
Hitt also revealed that his squad has been receiving some invaluable coaching advice from two Ospreys forwards, hooker Scott Baldwin and lock Bradley Davies. He already has the current Cross Keys coach, and former Wales full back, Morgan Stoddart in his backroom staff.
“Their experience and coaching techniques have been invaluable, and we hope to make more use of them as we build towards the Rugby Europe Championship,” added Hitt.
“It has been nice for them to come into our camp and put across their views. Bradley has in-depth knowledge of the line-out and they have both given us 100% when they have been with us.”
The Poles managed to score two tries at the Arms Park but struggled with the pace of the Welsh youngsters.
Swansea and Ospreys wing Harri Houston helped himself to two tries, as did fellow wing Llien Morgan.
Harris Williams also crossed for a brace and Newport and Dragons centre Harri Ackerman also got two. Cameron Winnett crossed for another try on his home pitch, while Harlequins lock Jonny Green also crossed plus there was also a penalty try. Dan Edwards kicked two conversions in the first half and Harrison James added five in the second half.
“We wanted to try to match them physically, which is tough for young men against a senior side. We certainly dd that which was great with a view to what is coming in two-weeks time against Ireland,” said Hayward.
“What was pleasing was the speed at which we played and the high tempo we put into our game. The things we’ve been working on, such as ball carrying in the forwards and keeping the ball in play.
“That put us on the front foot and if they can do that, I believe we’ve got the backs to cause any team some damage.”