Mike Ruddock has paid tribute to the ten Wales Grand Slam stars who earned themselves selection for the 2005 British & Irish Lions squad.
Gavin Henson, Stephen Jones, Shane Williams, Tom Shanklin were among seven Welsh backs to be rewarded for the attacking style that claimed the RBS Six Nations crown. The collection of fleet-footed backs also included both scrum-halves, Dwayne Peel and Gareth Cooper, as well as skipper Gareth Thomas who was joined by his successor Michael Owen in impressing Sir Clive Woodward with his leadership qualities. Cardiff Blues pair Gethin Jenkins and Martyn Williams made up the ten-man haul for Wales.
"We're obviously delighted that ten members of the Wales squad have been selected to tour New Zealand with the Lions this summer," said Ruddock. "Obviously I would love to have seen the entire squad being selected but I'm sure those who were selected will be the first to thank the rest of the players for the performances during the RBS Six Nations that will have boosted their chances.
"Having ten British Lions is testament to the hard-work and determination of the players, the management and the regional teams. Knowing those players as I do, they will all be aiming now to claim a place in that Test team to face the All Blacks."
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.