Poland assistant coach Morgan Stoddart

The former Welsh international looking to get one over on his home country

Former Pontypridd, Scarlets and Wales back Morgan Stoddart is Poland’s assistant coach

WALES U20’s take on Poland’s senior team at Cardiff Arms Park tonight as they step-up their preparations ahead of the U20’s Six Nations, which kicks off in a fortnight.

On the face of it, this fixture may seem like a strange one. Poland, a team ranked 30th in the world taking on Wales U20’s isn’t your run of the mill fixture. However, there’s a Welsh influence amongst the Polish coaching ranks.

Morgan Stoddart won eight caps for Wales between 2007-2011 before injury forced him to retire at the age of 28. Post-retirement, Stoddart got involved in coaching with his local side, Cross Keys RFC, where he remains head coach.

Stoddart crossing for a try against England in 2011

In 2021 Stoddart was offered the chance to join the coaching set-up with the Polish national team, a chance that Stoddart felt was too good to pass up.

“Chris Hitt, the Poland head coach, is also Welsh,” explained Stoddart.

“He called me to see if I was interested in coming onboard. I decided to take up the offer and it’s been a great experience.

“My role is mainly looking after the backs and the team attack.

“We did extremely well last year winning six from seven, getting promoted into the rugby championship.

“Now we have different challenges ahead playing against fully pro teams. We know it’s going to be difficult but we are working hard to achieve our goals.”

This isn’t the first time Poland have faced Welsh opposition. They travelled to Wales in November to face Cardiff Metropolitan University RFC and Stoddart’s Cross Keys team.

It was a successful tour for the Polish side, recording a 32-16 victory in the capital before following it up with a 37-12 victory in the Gwent valley.

Despite Poland’s good record in Wales, Stoddart is under no illusions about the size of the task that faces his side tonight.

“We know that the Welsh team will be fast and well -drilled,” said Stoddart.

“They have some brilliant young players and top coaches helping them.

“I haven’t really thought too much into coaching against my home country, the opposition doesn’t make much of a difference to me.

“It should be a great game and it will be important preparation for us before we play against Romania in two weeks.”

Kick-off at Cardiff Arms Park is at 7:15pm and entry is free for all spectators.