Ryan Elias at the WRU press conference. Image Credit: Tristan Rees

“The boys are excited and ripping into each other”: Ryan Elias says cut on his face is a sign of young Wales squad’s eagerness

Welsh hooker says the competitive edge the youngsters have brought to the camp has been refreshing

THE WELSH squad for the 2024 Six Nations is one of the most inexperienced ever, but the young players have brought a refreshing and competitive edge to the camp.  

Wales kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland and hooker Ryan Elias, 29, is now one of the more experienced members of the squad. 

Elias, from Carmarthen, appeared in the press conference with a cut on his cheek hiding under a plaster.

“The boys are excited and have been ripping into each other. There is a good competitive energy,” he says.  

That edge is often present in the camp in the lead up to tournaments like the Six Nations.

However, there is a different feel to this year’s championship for Wales because the squad is so young.

On average the 2024 Welsh players have 22 international caps and Elias says it’s notable.

“(When you come into the international camp) you are so used to seeing the older boys, older heads,” he said. 

Elias described the youthfulness of the team as “exciting and refreshing”. 

One man who is shouldering a lot of the pressure is Sam Costelow, Elias’ club teammate. 

Costelow plays fly-half, a legendary position for Welsh rugby fans and Elias believes Costelow has the mentality to succeed, saying: “He is a top man. He will be looking forward to the challenge.” 

Many fans do not fancy Wales’ chances in this year’s tournament due to the inexperience of the group and the form of the four Welsh professional teams so far this season.  

However, Elias said it is refreshing to be in the Welsh camp at the Vale.  

“I am sure a lot of people may have written us off. For us as a group we are concentrating on ourselves as a team,” said Elias.  

Assistant Coach, Jonathan Humphreys is pleased that the young players in the squad have taken a lot of responsibility on their shoulders: “What is good is that the young boys have been vocal (in the training sessions).”