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Woodman hoping for perfect birthday gift

Ryan Woodman will lead Wales U20

Woodman hoping for perfect birthday gift

New Wales U20 captain Ryan Woodman has asked his teammates to club together and give him the perfect 19th birthday present – a win over Ireland in Colwyn Bay on Friday, 02 February.

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The Dragons forward celebrated his birthday the day before the opening game in the 2023 U20 Six Nations championship against last season’s Grand Slam winners. If they can give him what he wants they it will have been worth the wait.

The Dragons backrower is captaining the side for the first time, although he already has seven caps at this level to his name already. 

He was part of the squad that reached the final of the U20 Six Nations Summer Series in Italy last year, when they were beaten 47-27 in the final by the Junior Springboks. Along the way they beat Scotland, Georgia and Italy. 

“I am looking forward to it and it will be a new experience. I lead by example on and off the pitch, rather than talking – I show what I can do and people tend to follow me,” said Woodman. 

“This year I think we have a real chance of turning over Ireland. We have a lot of new boys involved and it is quite a fresh squad, especially in the forwards. 

“We have some real confidence and we have a real chance to prove ourselves this time around. We’ve been improving as a pack, we have some big boys here, and if we click on the day we will do a good job.” 

Woodman has established a reputation as a formidable backrower at age-grade level and admits seeing the Christ Tshuinza, Dafydd Jenkins, Joe Hawkins and Mason Grady all graduate into Warren Gatland’s senior squad is an inspiration. 

“They are an inspiration for anyone involved in the U20s because it proves what is right around the corner,” said Woodman. 

“They were doing this six or seven months ago and for the older boys here, if they carry on the way they are going, and step up one or two more gears they can join them. But getting the first win will carry the momentum onwards.” 

Ospreys outside half Dan Edwards is another of the experienced players in the Wales U20 line-up and he echoes the views of his captain. 

“Ireland won the championship last year and we are looking forward to giving them a real challenge,” said Edwards 

‘“In this competition, you have to take each game as it comes and that is a big thing but there is one goal to win the competition. 

“We have a sharp backline and a young front five and hopefully they can match and beat teams upfront and we have the flair in the backline to take over.” 

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