Under-21 skipper Richie Pugh has been called into the senior Wales squad to tour Argentina and South Africa this month.
Pugh, an openside flanker in the mould of England's Neil Back, has long been regarded as a Wales international and comes in as backrow cover for Jason Forster, Dafydd Jones and Jonathan Thomas, who are all carrying niggling injuries.
Wales Under-21 coach Chris Davey was philosophical about losing his skipper less than two weeks before playing Russia in his side's Under-21 World Cup opener in Scotland.
"It's the name of the game," he said. "Mike Ruddock has been keeping us informed of developments all the way through and we knew Richie was knocking on the door.
"It's a great opportunity for the lad, and it's not the first time we've been hit - we lost five or six players to the summer tour this time last year."
The news comes on the back of Ruddock asking for Dragons lock Luke Charteris to be rested during the Cup.
"Luke's played in four World Cups on the trot - two Under-19s and two Under-21s - and he needs a good summer of conditioning," Davey said.
"Mike and the other coaches know what Luke can do and they're looking at fast-tracking him into the national side. Luke is a bit of a freak - Wales can't usually produce athletes who are 6ft 10in."
Davey has called up Pontypridd's Jonathan Edwards to replace Pugh, but has yet to decide on his new captain.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.