Wales Under 18 head coach Allan Lewis is pleased with the progress shown by his squad during the recent eight day European tournament in Madrid.
Wales beat Italy 41-8 to finish in the top four of the tournament, and despite narrow losses to England (22-16), and France (10-7), in the semi-final and third place play-off, Lewis is happy with the development of his young charges.
"The purpose of playing international rugby at this level is to develop players for the future," said Lewis, who is also WRU National Academy Coaching Manager.
"I believe that at this age, the emphasis should be on challenging the opposition with the ball in hand and that's what we've been working on and what we asked of the players over the past week.
"In doing that, you will make mistakes but you could argue that we will have more skilful players who will be adept at whatever tactical approach coaches ask of them at Under 20 level and beyond."
Lewis believes this Under 18 group learned a vast amount from the past ten days. "It was an invaluable experience for these boys to play three competitive games in such a short amount of time.
"Against Italy, we scored some attractive, counter-attacking tries, against England we played some good football in periods, but they scored two tries from driving line-outs which made the difference. Against France, we failed to build the platform we wanted in the set-piece and when we did get some good possession, our basic skills let us know, but this is a good bunch of boys who are developing all the time. Their attitude on and off the field was impeccable.
Lewis believes the input the players received from Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards, who spent five days with the squad will hold them in good stead for the future.
"Shaun Edwards is one of, if not the best and most qualified defence coach in world rugby at the moment, and for him to have had such a direct influence on the players at this stage in their development is fantastic.
"They hung on his every word and his input gave our training sessions a new level of intensity and gave the players so much extra knowledge.
"We are hoping to further the development of this group with some game time against some southern hemisphere opposition in the summer months."
Despite drawing with Ireland in the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations, Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards believes the championship 'is still in our hands' as he prepares his side to face Scotland at Principality Stadium tomorrow.
Meet the members of the WRU's inaugural Youth Board - after an online selection process which saw a host of high calibre candidates submit video applications the WRU has made its first 15 appointments.The board is made up of individuals aged between 16 and 21, and will meet for the first time at Principality Stadium on Monday 15th February.
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose