Rob Howley knows that if a player can shine in the Heineken Cup, he will be fit for the demands of international rugby.
Howley, who won the Heineken Cup for Wasps in 2004 with a last-minute try says he will be keeping an eye on the proceedings this weekend.
With the RBS Six Nations kick-off less than a month away, the assistant coach to Warren Gatland in the Welsh national set up has spoken of the need for players to impress for the region if they are to have a look-in to the national squad.
"The Heineken Cup is an integral part of our selection process," said the former Wales scrumhalf, "So it is important players perform well in this competition.
"We have spoken about the intensity that this competition brings, which is similar to international rugby.
"Every player who starts in the Heineken Cup has got a great opportunity to impress the Wales management, particularly after our disappointing display against Australia.
"We are looking at selections and combinations, while we also have players coming back from injuries who have not played a lot of rugby over the Christmas period."
The Welsh regions have some crunch matches coming up, with the Ospreys travelling to take on French high-flyers Clermont Auvergne, the Dragons are off to play Glasgow in Scotland and the Blues and Scarlets entertain Sale and London Irish respectively.
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.