The Wales Sevens squad which will contest the Australian and Hong Kong legs of the IRB Series.
Wales Sevens today left for the next round of IRB Sevens World Series tourmaments in Adelaide and Hong Kong with the aim of building on their recent form.
The national Sevens squad reached the quarter finals of the Cup competition in Las Vegas last time out and are aiming for more of the same over the next fortnight, despite a tough competition schedule.
Head coach Paul John has no uncapped players in the fifteen man squad that will compete over the two legs and he hopes that will help to quickly blend the group into a cohesive unit and enhance performance especially in the Pool games.
John said, "We are looking forward to getting back into competition mode with the aim of building on our performance at the last two tournaments in Wellington and Las Vegas.
"Although a few of are players are still very new to international Sevens, the fact that they all now have experience of the IRB Series will no doubt benefit us as a squad and allow the players to further develop individually and as a group.
"We have two difficult games first up in Australia, with Fiji on the Friday night and Kenya on the Saturday, followed by Papua New Guinea, but we are focused on improving on our recent Pool stage performances in order to allow us to consistently compete in the knock out stages of the Cup competition and move up the IRB world rankings.
"Hong Kong provides a different set of challenges with only the top team in each Pool guaranteed a place in the Cup quarter-finals. Our opposition in the pool stages of Hong Kong are England, Japan and hosts Hong Kong and followers of the Series will appreciate that no opposition can be taken lightly, so we will have to be on top of our game to get through to the last eight.
"Both Adelaide and Hong Kong are great tournaments, with Hong Kong being the most prestigious and well-established Sevens tournament in the world. The stadia will be packed out and the three-day format at both events will be physically demanding and provide players and spectators alike with the opportunity to experience the high intensity competition".
Thirteen players will travel to Adelaide, with Cardiff pivot Gareth Davies and Ospreys scrum half Rhys Webb bolstering the group in Hong Kong.
Wing Alex Cuthbert, who has impressed so far this season, is lilkely to miss the Adelaide leg of the trip with a recovering shoulder injury but will return to action in time for Hong Kong.
Wales Sevens squad for Adelaide (March 19 - 21) and Hong Kong (March 26 - 28)
Lee Rees (Scarlets), Chris Morgan (Aberavon), Gareth Davies (Cardiff, HONG KONG ONLY), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Rhys Jones (Cornish Pirates), Ifan Evans (Llandovery), Craig Hill (Newport), Rhys Shellard (Cardiff), Darren Daniel (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Jevon Groves (Cross Keys), Alex Cuthbert (UWIC), Rhys Webb (Ospreys, HONG KONG ONLY), Aaron Bramwell (Pontypridd)
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
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
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
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.