Byron Hayward can call on a number of players with regional experience
Byron Hayward is hoping his Wales under 20 starlets can flourish in the Junior World Championships after impressing for their regions.
The Wales head coach named an experienced 28-man squad for the World Championship campaign that kicks off in New Zealand on June 2, with 10 of his players having featured in last year's tournament when Wales went within a whisker of global glory after losing to England in the tournament final.
And now Hayward is hoping a core group of youngsters who already have regional experience under their belts can help Wales go one step further and clinch the competition crown in Auckland.
"It makes our job a lot easier when boys are playing at regional level because they're exposed to the big-game intensity. It's going to enhance our squad and hopefully our performances," said Hayward.
"Hopefully when they step back to our environment they can excel and that's something they did in the Six Nations for us."
Wales' forward pack starred in an indifferent Six Nations campaign as they drove the side to an away victory over Ireland. But now Hayward thinks it's time for the backs to shine in more favourable conditions.
"We played Ireland away in the Six Nations and the forwards won us the game. They had a pat on the back for that, but on the flip side, on a dry day we can win the ball and get it to our really talented backs," added the former Wales fly half.
"People like Hallam Amos, Jack Dixon, Daf Howells, Ashley Evans and Stef Hughes can do some serious damage against any side.
"The last game against Scotland was the best conditions we had played in and we showed our talent and scored some great tries with the right amount of ball in decent conditions."
The Championships will be broadcast on Sky Sports, and Hayward thinks it is the perfect platform for players to showcase their talent.
"As a vehicle to expose a player you can't get any better. If you're 19 or 20 years old and playing on the world stage in New Zealand it can't get any better for your development. You can showcase your skills to everyone in the world."
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.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.