The Japan tour is a huge opportunity for Welsh players says Jones
Wales assistant coach Mark Jones believes this summer's two-test tour to Japan will be the perfect platform for players to make their mark on the international scene.
The RBS 6 Nations Champions face Japan in Osaka on June 8th and then in Tokyo seven days later and the tour will be vital in the development of new leaders in the Welsh camp according to Jones.
"This summer is a great opportunity for players to make their mark with Wales," said Jones.
"It's a chance for us to find out what the players are about, see some on the international stage for the first time and see some step up and lead the team.
"The World Cup is only two years away and players need to start putting their mark down now.
"If you look back at the 2009 tour, players came through, put their hands up and look where they are now. This is a huge opportunity for this squad.
"It's a chance for the players to work closely with international coaches, experience an overseas tour, see how they cope with it and test themselves on this stage."
The last time Wales visited Japan in 2001, Jones played and scored in the first test and he knows the squad will have to hit the ground running this time around.
"It's going to be vital that we start well out there," he added.
" People remember that we won the two tests in Japan in 2001 but we actually lost our first tour game against Suntory and this time we don't have that luxury as we are straight into the tests.
"The conditions are very different, it's extremely humid and Japan will be coming into the game on the back of five matches so they will be ready for us.
"We will have to adapt to the environment quickly as we know they have got players that can score some great tries."
Jones, who is attack coach at the Scarlets, was part of the successful coaching team that led Wales to the Six Nations title back in March. He links up again with Wales this summer and has been pleased by what he has seen from the training squad so far.
"We had the players in training this week and it's gone really well.
"We've introduced the players to the style of play we are looking for and it's all been picked up really quickly.
"We want to create a culture which provides a framework but we are looking for players to take ownership and leadership on the pitch and this is something that has started well."
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.