CROSS Keys' hopes of winning their Principality Premiership semi-final at Carmarthen Quins have been dealt a blow after they were denied the services of three of their Wales Under-20s contingent, writes Chris Kirwan.
Flanker Scott Matthews, lock Scott Andrews and fly-half Angus O'Brien have been told they cannot feature tomorrow evening despite playing a large part in getting Keys to the playoffs.
They will be joining up with the Under-20s squad for the Junior World Championship on Monday and will feature against their Scottish counterparts in a warm-up in Bridgend on Wednesday.
Keys will, however, be able to field New Zealand-bound loosehead prop Luke Garrett after he was released to solve a front row selection problem.
While it is understandable that the youngsters need to prepare hard for June's tournament in New Zealand, there is frustration that the Premiership, a development league, suffers at crunch time because of scheduling.
The absence of Matthews will be particularly damaging for Keys because the 20-year-old has had a superb season.
The cannonball openside has made 19 appearances and is tipped to be in the running for Premiership player of the year.
The Quins are also without some key players - Under-20s back rower Will Boyde, suspended flanker James Davies and Wales Sevens trio Jason Harries, Iolo Evans and Lee Williams, who are in action at Twickenham.