The national Wales Seven's squad has had the perfect start to the nine tournament World Series with three successive wins in the pool stages of the Australian Gold Coast event
The young squad notched up impressive opening day wins on the world stage, defeating Scotland, Tonga and then England. Wales are rewarded for their wins, which were based on an intense bespoke three month conditioning and skills programme, with a quarter final showdown tomorrow (Saturday, 26 November) against super-power Fiji.
The individual and collective performances once again prove the value of an integrated player development pathway which continues to help young talent achieve full potential.
Recent graduates from the sevens programme such as national senior XV squad members Lloyd Williams of the Blues and the Ospreys Justin Tipuric, are shining examples for the current crop to follow.
The Wales Seven's squad arrived in Australia earlier this week to learn that current national sevens squad players Lewis Evans, Alex Cuthbert, had earned selection into Warren Gatland's fifteen a side squad.
Paul John's men began their series campaign with a comfortable 24-7 victory over Tonga before overcoming a stubborn Scotland side 14-12. But the men in red saved their best for last as they recorded an impressive 21-7 win in the Pool D decider over the experienced arch rivals England.
Wales will now play Fiji in the Cup quarter-final tomorrow after the south sea islanders finished second in their pool behind New Zealand.
The tournament victories and selection accolades are the latest testament to the success of sevens as an important feeder and development structure for young Welsh talent into the senior international game.
The Welsh Rugby Union pinpointed the Wales Seven's team as a key component of the elite pathway structure which delivers players through to senior honours.
The WRU Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, said, "I am delighted that the structures we now have in place are again paying dividends.
"We recognised that the international sevens circuit is an important platform through which we can identify, nurture and develop talented young Welsh players.
"The intense training and competition programmes of the world series create a test environment for talented players and coaches who have an opportunity to compete in front of big crowds at some of the best stadiums in the world."
Lydon added, "The training and preparation structures we have in place under Head Coach Paul John also expose these young men to the kind of discipline which ensures they are able to cope with the demands of an elite environment.
"Pre-tournament conditioning with conditioning coach Wayne Proctor was a high priority ahead of this series and so far the squad appear to be reaping the rewards.
"They operate under some intense pressure but they have the support systems in place through our delivery structures to make sure they learn how to thrive on that sort of intensity.
"We are now beginning to see some meaningful examples of how players benefit from what we have put in place and make it through to the top of the game.
"Wales cannot afford to lose out on any of the available player potential we have and our policies are now working.
"An important element of this is the existence of the WRU National Centre of Excellence which is a great facility at which talented young players can refine and hone their skills.
"We are now putting in place structures which mean that coaches like Shaun Edwards, Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins will play active roles in the development of young talent alongside their commitments to the senior squad.
"All these initiatives fit a clear strategy which reaches out through the Regions and the Premiership Division into the heart of the Welsh game which is the breeding ground for talent."
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
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.