Wales Fitness Coach, Andrew Hore, believes the French side to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday will have "power and speed to burn". The man who has worked alongside Wales Team Nutritionist, Dan Kings and Wales Team Physiotherapist, Mark Davies, to produce what is widely proclaimed as Wales's fittest squad to date, admits his side have some key physical attributes of their own.
"The French seem to produce natural rugby athletes, possibly due to their population and climatic enviorment," said the New Zealander. "As a result they always seem to have speed and power to burn, and individuals that can turn a game on its head. We in turn don't have that same population base nor the same climatic conditions, so we just have to keep working hard and making gains and things will come good.
"If we continue to grow the players in physical terms; we won't have the same highs and lows in performance and results. We will steadily improve and along with the improved structures being put in place both at the National and Regional levels the game in Wales will be something we can all be proud of everyday not just every now and then.
"We put in a good heavy week last week, we will now lighten the load and sharpen the players up in preparation for Sunday. Clearly it is a game in which we would all like to see a big performance."
Hore is not only in charge of the training regime for the Wales squad, he also coordinates fitness programmes throughout Welsh rugby at a regional
level. He works closely with the trainers at each of the regional teams and has been instrumental in ensuring a cohesive training programme which stretches across the top tier of Welsh rugby.
"If you compare the workload from this time last year to present day, its easy to see that the squad have come a long way," Hore continued. "They are recovering a lot quicker after games and have bounced back really well this week after such a heavy work load.
"They came back to camp this year stronger than last year and we are in constant contact with the regional trainers to ensure that the conditioning programme for each player is right all year round.
"We need to create a structure that picks players up early and we are getting that in place now with all the hard work that goes on at the regional level. With good communication and the idea that we must keep the players as our focus we will go some way to creating the kind of athletes we
need in the near future.
"We have five high calibre trainers in the regions and I take my hat off to each one of them. We have had significant improvements in key areas for most members of the squad, but there is always more you can do to improve your conditioning.
"The players have bought into the whole process and the key areas of improvement have been leg strength, anaerobic and aerobic fitness. Every player is different and they came to the squad with different strengths and weaknesses.
"We have ensured there is an all round balance at each region in order to produce rounded athletes. In the future, when they turn up to a Wales camp, we want the training to be all about fine tuning after the good work they have done with their regions.
"One thing we all need to remember is that we are just ending what is our first physical cycle. There are still a number of levels to go yet, so we can expect even further improvements; until we reach our physical peak. "
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.