A highly experienced management team has been assembled to run the elite team, with Terry Cobner agreeing to return to the Welsh set-up as team manager. Kevin George is head coach and he will have Ian Gardner, Paul John and Wayne Jones as his assistants. Ron Shottle will act as a coaching co-ordinator.
Cobner, who retired from the role of director of rugby at the end of July, is relishing his new challenge.
'I was flattered to be invited to take over this important role and I am honoured to be involved. When I left the Welsh Rugby Union I was keen not to divorce myself completely from the sport," he said. "I always felt I could give something back, and this age-group is particularly close to my heart.
'My role as team manager, in conjunction with the coaches, is to ensure that the players understand the demands of the modern game and are better prepared to take the step up to Under 19 and Under 21 levels, where they will be competing against the best young players in the world.
'The Welsh Rugby Union has created an excellent international pyramid system by rationalising all its age group teams, and the Under 18 side will play a key part in the developmental process.'
There will be seven training sessions for the squad over the next three months as they prepare for their international series in 2005. There are games against England at two different age grades within the Under 18 category.
The upper age limit within the 43-man squad is Under 18 on September 01 2004. That is the age category that the former Schools Unions in Europe applied for their traditional championship. That age category is due to be phased out over the next few years.
There are only eight players who don't meet the second age category, which has been applied across the world by the IRB for their Under 19 and Under 21 Rugby World Cups, which is January 01.
There are only eight players within the 43-strong Welsh Squad who will be ineligible for the January 01 age category.
There are four players who were capped by the Welsh Schools Under 18 team last season in the squad - props Rhys Gill and Lloyd Williams-Jones, wing Marcus Johnstone and full back Jamie Roberts - while outside half Rhys Jones, centre Ashley Smith and lock Owen Swindell were capped by Wales Youth Under 18. There are eight members of last season's Wales Under 16 side in the squad.
WALES UNDER 18 FIXTURES 2005
(All January 01 age category unless stated)
08/01/2005 - Wales v Italy - The Gnoll, Neath
12/02/2005 - France v Wales - Foix (Sept 1)
13/03/2005 - England v Wales - Clifton
13/03/2005 - England v Wales - Clifton (Sept 1)
Home Four Nations Championship
26/03/2005 - Wales v Ireland - Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale
29/03/2005 - Wales v England - Broadcacre, Dunvant
01/04/2005 - Wales v Scotland - Sardis Road, Pontypridd
02/04/2005 - Wales (Sept 1) v Ireland - Pontypool Park, Pontypool
09/04/2005 - Wales (Sept 1) v England - The Gnoll, Neath
WALES UNDER 18 SQUAD
FULL BACKS Jamie Roberts (Blues), Will Harries (Dragons)
WINGS James Pike (Ospreys), James Challenger (Ospreys), Marcus Johnstone (Dragons), Jimmy Norris (Dragons)
CENTRES Alex Wilkins (Ospreys), James Lewis (Dragons), Ashley Smith (Dragons), Steve Martin (Scarlets), Gareth Maule (Dragons), Jon Davies Scarlets)
OUTSIDE HALVES Rhys Jones (Dragons), Martin Thomas (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets)
SCRUM HALVES Lee Williams (Scarlets), Darren Allison (Scarlets), Robert Lewis (Dragons), Julian Bishop (Dragons)
PROPS Huw Gustafson (Scarlets), Rhys Gill (Blues), James Francis (Dragons), Lloyd Williams- Jones (Ospreys), James Corsi (Dragons), Gwesyn Price-Jones (Dragons), Keiron Jenkins (Blues)
HOOKERS Mark Breeze (Ospreys), Ashley James (Ospreys), Neil Williams (Dragons), Mark Jones (Blues)
LOCKS Lou Reed (Scarlets), Adam Brown (Dragons), Owen Swindell (Blues), Bryn Jenkins (Dragons), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets)
FLANKERS Ben Flowers (Dragons), Lloyd Phillips (Scarlets), James Harris (Dragons), Matthew Larsen (Blues), Daniel Thorne (Blues)
No. 8s Lewis Evans (Dragons), S Lee Williams (Scarlets), Jon Jones (Ospreys)