Wales have finished seventh (2002), seventh (2003), fifth (2004) and sixth (2005) in recent years and look destined to finish around one of those positions in 2006.
Defeat by New Zealand and the failure to clinch a bonus point cost Justin Burnell's squad a place in the last four. Wales defeated South Africa 33-21 yesterday and their opponents on Friday will be Ireland who beat Argentina 19-13.
Wales U18 won their opening game in the Four Home Nations Tournament in the West Country when they pipped Scotland 2120 at Cheltenham on Saturday. They play Ireland on Tuesday (April 18) at Lydney (KO 4.00 pm) - England face Scotland at Cinderford - and will be defending their remarkable record of never losing a game in the quadrangular tournament since its inception in 1999. Ireland led England 15-6 on Saturday before eventually going down 26-15 and will be difficult opponents.
The rules of the competition demand that every player in the 26 strong squad must at least once start a game so permutations and combinations of players are a major part of the three match campaign. The tournament reaches its climax on Friday with the possibility of a winner takes all clash between Wales and England if results go the way of the two joint favourites today.
The Welsh Schools Intermediate Group U16 "A" side has just come back from the Millfield International Festival where they won two and lost one of their three games. There was a first day defeat at the hands of France "A" 27-20 but there were two impressive wins thereafter against Romania (57-7) and England "B" 58-7.
Players who shone for the "A" side behind the scrum included centres Nick Gill (Radyr CS) and Adam Hughes (Croesyceiliog CS), Gowerton CS wing Dean Williams, Cwm Rhymni fly-half Dan Ellis and scrum half Lloyd Williams (Bro Morgannwg), son of the former Wales and Britich Lions scrum-half Brynmor Williams.
Up front No.8 Craig Fillier (Nantyglo CS) and flanker and skipper Sam Studley (Hawthorn HS) both impressed. They will be in action against their English "A" counterparts at Clifton on Saturday afternoon (KO 3 00 pm).
England A 11 Scotland 10
England B 28 Georgia 8
Canada 47 Romania 15
France 27 Wales 20
England B 18 France 5
England A 27 Canada 0
Scotland 37 Georgia 0
Romania 5 Wales 57
Wales 58 England B 7
Canada 22 Scotland 17
England A 8 France 19
Georgia 25 Romania 17
Week's Programme Ahead
Tues April 18:
Wales U18 v Ireland U18 (Lydney KO 4.00 pm) (Four Home Nations Championship)
Fri April 21:
Wales U18 v England U18 (Cheltenham KO 3.35 pm) (Four Home Nations Championship)
Fri April 21:
Wales U19 v Ireland (Dubai KO 3.15 pm) (IRB U19 World Championship)
Fri April 21
England U16 "A" v Wales U16 "A" (Clifton RFC KO 3.00 pm)