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Page last updated at 06:13 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 07:13 UK

Wales coach excited by teenage scrum-half Tavis Knoyle

The outstanding Tavis Knoyle crosses for the Scarlets' second try as they race to a 15-3 half-time lead

Archive, March 2010: Scrum V impressed with man-of-the-match Knoyle

Wales coach Warren Gatland said he was thrilled by the potential of new squad scrum-half Tavis Knoyle after bringing the teenager into his summer reckoning.

"We are excited about Tavis, he is a big strong lad who has been compared to Mike Phillips," said Gatland after naming the Scarlet in a 27-man squad.

"He has a good pass, real speed and he has the frame as well so he has it all going for him and real potential."

Wales host South Africa on 5 June before a two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Scrum-halves Dwayne Peel and Gareth Cooper were ruled out by injury and Knoyle - who turns 20 on 2 June - has now risen above team-mate Martin Roberts for both region and country.

606: DEBATE
Gavin

That leaves the 6ft 1ins, 15st 12lbs Glynneath youngster competing with Mike Phillips and Richie Rees for the Wales jersey, Dragons scrum-half Wayne Evans not included in Gatland's selectorial thinking.

"We have been impressed with him," said Gatland of Knoyle.

"As a youngster he has come on really well and I know he has been spoken of in recent seasons as someone to watch.

"I'm a great believer in 'if you are good enough you are old enough' and that applies to the likes of both Tom Prydie and Tavis Knoyle.

"We have gone very much for continuity of selection and kept the squad small, but there are also a couple of youngsters in there who we are going to stick by."

Archive, May 2009: 'Awesome' year for young scrum-half

Knoyle played his youth rugby for Glynneath and has impressed for Wales at Under-20, U18 and U16 levels.

Having graduated to the Neath side he was wanted by the Ospreys, with rumoured interest also coming from Leicester and Harlequins.

But he chose to join the Scarlets on a two-year deal last summer, coach Nigel Davies saying at the time that he was "as excited about Tavis as I was about Dwayne Peel and Mike Phillips at 18".

Davies has six of his squad in the Wales party, uncapped trio Knoyle, Rob McCusker and Ken Owens joining Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees and Jonathan Davies.

Our policy of exposing these younger Scarlets players to top-flight rugby and playing them in the big pressure games is paying off and has allowed them to mature

Scarlets coach Nigel Davies

"This is great news for these boys, particularly Tavis, Ken and Rob who have really shown their talent, commitment and determination to improve this season with us," said Davies.

"It will be an invaluable experience for them to tour New Zealand and spend time with the Wales set-up and all the senior players.

"It will only enhance what they can bring back to the region next season.

"Our policy of exposing these younger Scarlets players to top-flight rugby and playing them in the big pressure games is paying off and has allowed them to mature, gain some great experience and prove themselves. We wish them all the best for these tests."



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see also
Powell back for Wales' June Tests
16 May 10 |  Welsh
Hore injury blow for New Zealand
15 May 10 |  Welsh
Wales suffer Jenkins injury blow
26 May 10 |  Welsh
Gatland considers 50-strong list
30 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Neath teen Knoyle joins Scarlets
22 May 09 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Country profile: New Zealand
28 Nov 11 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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