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Winner takes all in RAG U18 final at Aberavon

The last Scarlets side to win the RAG U18 title in 2018

Winner takes all in RAG U18 final at Aberavon

The Scarlets will chase their first Regional Age Grade U18 title since 2018 when they go head-to-head with reigning champions Ospreys at the Talbot Athletic Ground tonight (Wednesday, 7 February – 7.30pm. live on S4C Clic).

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Both sides are unbeaten in their previous three outings this season and so it will be a winner take all occasion. Since the tournament was created in 2005, the Ospreys have won the title seven times and Scarlets four.

Scarlets were in inaugural champions of the then Reebok Regional U18 championship in 2005 when they clinched the title with a crushing 36-3 win over the Ospreys. A certain Jonathan Davies scored four tries in that game and other players who went on to play for Wales from that side were Rhys Priestland, Emyr Phillips and Josh Turnbull.

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Current Scarlets and Wales centre Joe Roberts was among the stars in the 2018 Scarlets championship winning side.

Former Wales U20 Grand Slam skipper Tom Phillips is the head coach for the young Scarlets this season and has seen his team frack up 21 tries in their three previous outings – bagging a bonus-point on each occasion with impressive wins over Cardiff Rugby (44-40), Dragons (64-7) and RGC (41-6).

The Ospreys have also swept all before them this season, beating Dragons 47-19, RGC 29-3 and Cardiff Rugby (10-7).

Skipper Tiaan Sparrow returns to lead the Scarlets from the back row, while Joe Denman, who captained Llandovery College to success in the WSC Rugby U18 final at Principality Stadium earlier in the season, is on the bench.

“It’s a fantastic way to finish the Championship with two unbeaten sides going head-to-head in a derby game,” said Phillips.

“This programme plays a crucial role as a stepping stone to professional rugby. While our performances and results in the previous three games have been pleasing, the development as rugby players of this group over this block of fixtures has been just as important.

“Selection has been tough with so many players putting up their hands for a place, and it is always a tough game against the Ospreys.”

Loose head prop Dylan James leads the Ospreys, who include Nick Fisk-Jones at scrum half. He is the son of former Wales and British & Irish Lions star Rob Jones, while another son with a famous father, Jac Moon, is on the bench for the Scarlets.

His dad, Rupert, captained Llanelli and also played for Wales as a scrum half. He had many battles at the base of the scrum with Jones, and now the next generation could follow suit as Jac is also a scrum half.

Ospreys U18: Tate Shaw; Evan Morris, Lewis Edwards, Josh Hoskins, Will Moore; Charlie Thomas, Nick Fisk-Jones; Dylan James (captain), Owen Griffiths, Adam Baker, Noah Williams, Dan Gemine, Alfie Thomas, Seb Rodriguez-Davies, Will Howells
Reps: Dexter Randall, Callum Kerswell, Oliver Addis-Fuller, Thomas Edwards, Sam Gardner, Ellis Lewis, Sam Williamson, Khalifa Al Muflehi

Scarlets U18: Iori Badham; Owen Griffith, Tyler Davies, Ioan Thomas, Sion Jones; Carwyn Jones, Bowyn Clark; Tom Phillips, Daf Ebsworth, Jac Pritchard, Sam Williams, Osian Williams, Dom Kossuth, Tiaan Sparrow (captaiin), Keanu Evans
Reps: Will Davies, Lewis Jones, Nathan Davies, Gabe Cahsay, Joe Denman, Jac Moon, Steff Jac Jones, Ellis Payne

RAG Champions 2005-2023
2023: Ospreys; 2022: Dragons: 2021: No competition (COVID); 2020: Cardiff Blues; 2019: Dragons: 2018: Scarlets: 2017: Ospreys; 2016: Cardiff Blues; 2015: Ospreys; 2014: Cardiff Blues: 2013: Scarlets; 2012: Cardiff Blues; 2011: Cardiff Blues; 2010: Cardiff Blues; 2009: Ospreys; 2008: Ospreys; 2007: Ospreys; 2006: Ospreys; 2005: Scarlets

Champions: Ospreys 7, Cardiff 6, Scarlets 4, Dragons 1

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