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Breeze backing Welsh front five to step up

Marc Breeze overseeing Welsh scrum practice before facing England U20

Breeze backing Welsh front five to step up

Wales U20 set-piece coach Marc Breeze is confident his front five will be ready to face another massive challenge when they take on France in Oyonnax in the final round of U20 Six Nations games. 

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Wales fell just short once against the Italians in Treviso in Round 4 and found themselves under the pump at scrum time, where they conceded six penalties, a yellow card and a penalty try. Now they have to pack down against another massive front row unit in France. 

Pontypool and Dragons Academy loose head Dylan Keller-Griffiths gets another shot, while rotation in selection sees both Scarlets hooker Lewis Morgan and Ospreys tight head Louis Fletcher get their first starts of the campaign in place of Sam Scarfe and Tomas Pritchard respectively. 

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“You have to give credit to Italy, they have been putting teams under massive pressure with their scrum. Last week was the first time the boys had played against a pack that size,” said Breeze.  

“I think it was 14 penalties and a couple of penalty tries the Italians have now squeezed out of teams in the opening four rounds.  

“We asked the players to pick out their own clips for the video review and they we quite hard on themselves. We’ve made a couple of tweaks after watching the video back and I know they will have learned a lot from that experience.  

“Some of our binds and weight transfers were quite decent, but we just couldn’t handle the weight that was coming through. Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin, learn your lessons and move on. 

Both Dylan (Keller-Griffiths) and James (Scarfe) are converted back row forwards in the last 18 months, and they are still on massive learning curves in their new positions. Lots of players are transitioning from the back row to front row, but it takes time.” 

Breeze, the Aberavon forwards coach, was himself a back row convert to hooker during a career that saw him play for Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and London Welsh. He made the transfer under the tutelage of former Wales hooker Garin Jenkins and is now passing on his knowledge to a new generation. 

“I only came into the coaching team two weeks before the first game and so we’ve all been getting to know each other,” added Breeze.  

“The work ethic of all the players has been fantastic and we know we have a back line that is really exciting if we can provide them with good ball. For 60 minutes in every game, we’ve either been in the lead or within a few points of the opposition. 

“There are a host of real quality back row players and I’ve also been impressed by the strides made by second rows Liam Edwards and Jonny Green.” 

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