Steffan Hughes has targeted a semi-final spot in New Zealand
Wales U20s captain Steffan Hughes can feel the excitement building with the Junior World Championships under two weeks away.
The 28-man squad fly out to their Auckland base on Saturday, before taking on Fiji in their opening game on Monday, June 2.
Wales then face tough tests against Six Nations rivals Ireland and France, but the 20-year-old Scarlets centre reckons his team are in peak condition to reach the semi-final stage.
They were buoyed by their 31-19 victory over Scotland at the Brewery Field in their World Championship warm-up match on Wednesday, and Hughes can't wait for the tournament to get under way.
"Now that we're going on Saturday it's getting really exciting. I'm in a rush to get all the last-minute things ready," said Hughes.
"It's not just going to be a good rugby experience but a good life experience as well. To go to a country like New Zealand, whose love of rugby may even be bigger than it is here, is great, and hopefully we can get some support out there.
"The semi-finals is the target, and it has to be - you have to try and win it. The target is to get out of the group and then go from there. At any level of rugby, when it comes down to a semi-final in a major competition, it's all about who performs on the day.
"It's a tough group, but it's a big challenge for us that we're looking forward to and hopefully we can execute our game-plan and play to the level we need to."
The U20s squad are now just under a month into their preparation for youth rugby's premier tournament and Hughes is convinced their time together is already paying off.
Head coach Byron Hayward announced his party on April 23 and two weeks of predominantly conditioning followed immediately after, with a further fortnight having since been spent on the training park with attentions turning towards the tournament opener with the Fijians.
The squad have also been using a GPS tracking system during their time at the WRU National Centre of Excellence and Hughes insists that in itself has been a huge benefit.
"We've been lucky enough to have GPS tracking systems while we train and while we play which has boosted the levels of fitness," added Hughes.
"The boys have benefitted massively from that and I think the level of intensity in training and in our games have gone up.
"We saw that against Scotland, especially in the first half when we had some ball and got into some phases and showed we were fit."
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