Welsh Schools Under 16 play their only international Test of the season when they take on England Under 16 at the Gnoll on Sunday (2.30) and head coach Simon Davies believes the match comes at a good time for his young squad.
Davies, along with assistant coaches Geraint Lewis, Jason Strange and Mark O'Kelly, took a group of 50 to the Wellington International Festival over Easter where two squads - named the Celts and the Druids - played national and regional teams from England, Scotland and France, coming away with two wins, two draws and two losses, and Davies believes his players developed a huge amount during the course of the week.
"The games were all of a very high standard, and playing three international level games in a week was a huge learning curve. The players certainly increased their performance levels during the week and the 34-17 win over France by the Druids on the last day last Saturday was very pleasing. They showed a high level of intensity and produced the attacking rugby we want to play. They were 29-3 up at half time and although France came back in the second half, our players showed some maturity to seal a convincing win in the end.
"The matches were a great way of assessing players' abilities and attitude and the majority of the players that played in that win over France have earned a place in the side for Sunday's match."
Despite the positives that came out of the festival, Davies insists England will provide the players' sternest test yet. "We will certainly have to up our game again. All of the Regional English teams were very strong in Wellington so we are expecting a huge challenge from the England Under 16 side. We will have to be on our mettle from the off if we are going to be competitive. We need to cut down our errors and be more accurate in our execution, while staying true to our attacking philosophy.
"It will be a fantastic experience for these young players to run out at the Gnoll, a traditional Welsh rugby ground, as they look to make further progress on the international pathway."
Welsh Schools U16 v England U16
Sunday 27 April, The Gnoll (2.30):
Jared Rosser (Abersychan Comp / Pontypool Utd/ Dragons); Keelan Giles (Gowerton Comp / Waunarlwydd/ Ospreys), Owen Lane (Whitchurch High / Rhiwbina/ Blues), Ioan Nicholas (Maes Yr Gwendraeth/ Pontyberem/ Scarlets), Patric Lewis (Lewis School Pengam / Penallta/ Dragons); Phil Jones (Gowerton Comp / Fall bay/ Ospreys), Harri Randall (capt, Llandovery College / Kidwelly/ Scarlets); Rhys Carre (Corpus Christi / St. Josephs/Blues), Corrie Tarrant (Porth Comp / Treorchy / Blues), Jordon Davies (Amman Valley / Amman Utd/ Scarlets), James Ratti (Bishopston / Dunvant/Ospreys), Callum Bradbury (Bryn Celynnog / Beddau/Blues), Shane Lewis Hughes (Ysgol Gyfyn Cymmer / Ystrad/ Blues), Owain Ellis (Ysgol Llanhari / Pontyclun/Blues), Morgan Morris (Gowerton Comp / Penclawdd/ Ospreys)
Replacements: Jordan Liney (Gowerton Comp / Dunvant/Ospreys), Steffan Gibbon (Gowerton Comp / Waunarlwydd/ Ospreys), Harri Dodds (Cathedral School / St Peters/ Blues), Joe Thomas (Blackwood Comp / Penallta/Dragons) , Jack Cambriani (Gowerton Comp / Waunarlwydd/Ospreys), Declan Smith (Glan Y Mor / Kidwelly/ Scarlets), Declan Williams (Treorchy High / Treorchy/ Blues), Tom Sheppard (Ysgol Gyfyn Cymer / Treorchy/ Blues).
Tickets for the game are £5 adults, free entry for Under 16s
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event