Andries Pretorius wants a place in the Welsh squad this autumn
Andries Pretorius is targeting more appearances in a Welsh jersey after making his international debut in June's tour of Japan.
If my role is to simply just push the guys ahead of me then I'll gladly accept that opportunity
The Cardiff Blues man came off the bench in the first Test win in Osaka before starting in Tokyo.
He admits his first taste of Test match rugby was an eye-opening experience but is desperate to add to his two caps this season.
"It was a phenomenal experience and now I'd like to try and play against some of the home nations," said Pretorius, as he looked ahead to the new campaign.
"Generally the game is a bit more physical which suits my style of rugby and I'm really looking forward to this season now."
Asked what lessons he learnt from the Japan tour, Pretorius added: "The pace was extraordinary but more than anything it was about being clinical.
"If you make a mistake, someone is going to punish you and if you get an opportunity, you have to take it. Those are the two things both individually and collectively that we learnt from it."
With British & Irish Lions Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau on a high after the series win against Australia, competition in the Welsh back row is especially fierce.
Add in the likes of Josh Navidi, Rob McCusker, James King and Andrew Coombs, and you see the strength in depth available to Warren Gatland for the autumn clashes with South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia.
"If my role is to simply just push the guys ahead of me then I'll gladly accept that opportunity," said Pretorius.
Before thinking about Wales though, Pretorius is focusing on the start of the regular season with Cardiff Blues.
Phil Davies' side start their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign with a trip to Glasgow before home matches with Connacht and Zebre on the new artificial surface at Cardiff Arms Park. First though, is their final pre-season game against Sale on Friday night.
"There were a couple of times last year where one score in a game cost us," said Pretorius.
"This year we've got a lot more players who have experience under their belt. They've learnt from that and had a really good pre-season. Guys who last year we classed as young players are now experienced players so I'm looking forward to seeing these guys play.
"We owe Sale one after what happened up there last year but it will be good to get into them and go into the season playing hard."
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.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.