The future of Welsh rugby looks bright according to Wales Under 18 team manager Will Thomas after he saw his side claim the third place play-off against France in the Fira European Championship held in Poland last week.
In a tight affair, the young Welsh side were staring down the barrel of defeat at halftime with France leading 16-7. The French side, who had already beaten their opponents in March, looked odds on to claim the honours when they shot out to a 30-17 lead but two late converted tries by fly half Jarrod Evans saw Wales snatch a 31-30 to avenge their earlier defeat in Chartres.
Shaun Pearce's try in the first half kept Wales in the game while Thomas Phillips effort brought his side back into the game midway through the second spell after France had shot out to a 23-10 advantage.
Wales showed plenty of grit and determination to get back into the game, which Thomas conceded, if it had been played a month or so ago, victory would probably have eluded them.
"The results over the tournament - and not just the third place play-off show how far this team has come in a relative short space of time," he said.
"It was only a few weeks ago we were beaten comfortably by England at the Gnoll but we so nearly overturned that result and lost only to a last minute penalty while we recorded a narrow win over Scotland in our first game of the tournament.
"To finish off with a win against a very strong France side was very pleasing. The entire squad showed plenty of team spirit to drag themselves back into the game. It shows how far they have come as players but also the coaching staff deserve a pat on the back.
"Shaun [Connor] stepped up to the plate alongside his coaching staff and support staff and created a strong and positive environment with their huge amount of hard work and detail in their delivery which was very much reflected in the results we achieved."
FIRA U18 Championship results:
Fri 11th Apr 14 Wales U18s 23 - 21 Scotland U18s
Tue 15th Apr 14 Wales U18s 9 - 11 England U18s
Sat 19th Apr 14 Wales U18s 31 - 30 France U18s
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'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.