Taine Plumtree Could Provide Rich Harvest For Wales Coach Warren Gatland Ahead of World Cup

The 23-year-old back row forward – who was born in Swansea when his father John was the club’s head coach – has signed to play for the Scarlets next season.

But Wales coach Warren Gatland is a known admirer of Plumtree junior and it’s understood he is poised to join the squad for their two-week training camp in Switzerland.

The squad were due to leave for the Swiss mountains on Monday afternoon and the former forward with the Auckland-based Blues, is expected to be on board.

He had been playing Super Rugby for the Blues and for Wellington in the Mitre Cup. He played against Wales for New Zealand at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championships, ending up on the losing side in Argentina.

The Welsh side that day contained three of his new Scarlets teammates, Morgan Jones, Kemsley Mathias, Ryan Conbeer and Sam Costelow.

“Taine is an athletic, versatile forward who is able to play across the back row. We have been impressed by what we have seen of him with Wellington and when he has featured for the Blues in Super Rugby,” said Scarlets head coach, Dwayne Peel.

“He is a player of huge potential, and we are excited for him to join the young generation of Scarlets who are coming through the ranks here.

“I’m sure he will fit in well with the style of rugby we like to play and we’re looking forward to welcoming him into the group ahead of the new season.”

Plumtree becomes the latest addition to the Scarlets squad for the 2023-24 campaign following the signings of Ioan Lloyd from Bristol, Tomi Lewis from Jersey, Alex Craig from Gloucester, Teddy Leatherbarrow and Charlie Titcombe from Loughborough University and RGC 1404 scrum half Efan Jones.

As the Wales senior prepare for one global tournament, the Wales U20s are already involved in the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.

Head coach Mark Jones has named a starting side boasting five changes for the crucial Pool A encounter against France on Tuesday.

There is just the one change in the backline where Ospreys winger Tom Florence gets his first start of the campaign after scoring against Japan as a halftime replacement. He replaces his regional teammate Llien Morgan.

Ospreys’ tighthead prop Kian Hire and Harlequins flanker Seb Driscoll get their first starts in a Welsh jersey after both impressed as second half replacements against Japan. They replace Louis Fletcher and Lucas De La Rua respectively.

Dragons RFC’s hooker Sam Scarfe replaces Lewis Lloyd, who drops down to the bench, while Ospreys second row Liam Edwards returns in place of regional teammate Evan Hill.