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)
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.