Wales Under 18 beat France 10-9 to end the SARFU Under 18 tournament on a high.
A Shaun Pearce try and a Luke Price conversion and penalty secured Allan Lewis' side a first victory in the Under 18 international tournament after narrowly losing 21-24 to England Under 18 in their opening game, followed by a disappointing 40-15 defeat to South African Schools Under 18 on Tuesday.
However, the side, led by hooker Liam Belcher, bounced back in Stellenbosch with a stellar display.
Despite creating numerous chances, including two obvious try scoring opportunities just before the break, Wales Under 18 went in 6-0 down at half time and went a further three points behind after conceding a penalty ten minutes into the second half. But they kept their composure and after building phase upon phase, working the ball from side to side between forwards and backs, Shaun Pearce was sent over to score, Price converting.
France came back strongly, but Wales worked hard in defence and held out for a well-deserved win.
Head coach Lewis stressed the importance, not only of the win, but of the tournament as a whole.
"The effort the players showed against France was excellent and displayed a clear improvement over the three games, and the past few weeks," said Lewis.
"We performed well against a very good England side who went on to beat South Africa, and although we were disappointed with our performance against South Africa, we bounced back well with a good display against France, and to come away with a win to boost is a bonus.
"This is the first step on the ladder towards Wales Under 20 squad selection and potentially becoming professional rugby players for some.
"This tournament, and the build-up towards it makes a huge difference in that process, as we have clearly seen over the past few years.
"Players get to experience a professional environment and play some of the best teams in the world at this level. That gives them a good grounding for what they come up against as Wales Under 20 players in the Six Nations and Junior World Championship."
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
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
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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
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