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Bradley ready to take centre stage after tips from the top

Bryn Bradley joins Archie Hughes in setting up the opening try against Japan

Bradley ready to take centre stage after tips from the top

Harlequins centre Bryn Bradley is hoping to bring some of the lessons he learned from Jamie Roberts to bear when he tries to guide Wales into a Cup semi-final at the U20 World Rugby U20 Championship. 

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Standing in the way of the rejuvenated Welsh team and a top four finish after the pool stages is a gigantic French side who are seeking a third successive title. Complete with their 6’ 3in tall, 23st teenage second row Posolo Tuilagi, the French made it two from two in Pool A with a 35-14 win over New Zealand last time out. 

They ran in 11 tries in their first round 75-12 demolition of Japan, who Wales beat 41-19 last weekend having lost 27-26 to New Zealand in their opening contest, and were 67-17 victors over Wales in the Six Nations earlier in the year. 

Tuligai is one of only three players who started against Wales in that 11-try defeat in Oyonnax four months ago, while Bradley will be one of nine returning Welsh players in the starting XV who will be seeking to make some form of amends for that rather poor day at the office.  

“Jamie Roberts came in for a couple of backs sessions for a couple of weeks before we came to South Africa. It was really good, and he showed us there is more detail than we thought in specific back line stuff,” said Bradley. 

“We worked hard on some things, especially defence, and he gave us an insight into how he played and the game and how aggressive he was. It was a bit of an eye opener for some of us, and we’ve tried to take some of that into our games. 

“I tried to pick his brains as much as I could, and it gave us a lot of confidence. That last block of 10 minutes against Japan gave us great confidence and hopefully we can take that into the game against France.” 

Bradley was involved in the first try against Japan, linking with scrum half Archie Hughes, and then raced clear for one of the three tries in the final 10 minutes that clinched the bonus-point. Now he wants to carry on that good work for the return game against the French. 

Bryn Bradley on the charge against New Zealand

“We are more prepared, and we have a specific plan – that’s the biggest difference between now and then,” admitted Bradley. 

“Everyone is on the same page, and we know that if we get things right, we will be in with a shout. We’ve done that in the last two games, it has worked, and we will go into the French game with confidence.  

“They have got some big boys, but I don’t think they are miles ahead of us physically. That day in France in the Six Nations was just a bit overwhelming.  

“The way we will win is by playing our game. Worrying about their size won’t help us and you can still win by not being the biggest team. We’ve got the right plan to go and win the game regardless of their size.” 

“The first game out here was all about our performance. It was what we wanted, even though we ended up losing by a point.  Going into the game against Japan, it was tough for the first 60 minute and they tested us well. The weather was a real leveler, but we knew they would break in the end if we stuck to our plan, and we got the goods in the end.” 

A well as picking up some pre-tournament tips from former Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Roberts, Bradley has learned a lot under the wing of Harlequins transition coach Jordan Turner-Hall. He played in the 2008 World Rugby U20 Championship final and won two caps for England as a centre. 

“I grew up in south London, but my mother was from Newport. She moved to London and had me and my brother (Gwilym) there,” added Bradley.  

“Gwilym is in the academy at Cardiff Rugby, and we’ve always supported Wales and always wanted to play for Wales. I am as proud as anyone in this team to be playing for Wales. 

“I’m really happy with my development at Harlequins. I live locally and I’ve always been a Quins fan. I went down to The Twickenham Stoop when I was young, and I’ve been in the academy there for quite a while now. 

“Jordan Turner-Hall has guided me through. He was a very good inside centre in his day and has helped me a lot. He is now our transition coach and I’ve learned a lot from him. 

“You’re taught from a young age at Quins that if you see something, back yourself and don’t worry about the consequences. It’s the same message for the first team.” 

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