Wales had their hopes of making the knockout stages of the third stage of the IRB Sevens Series in Wellington dashed with two heavy defeats to New Zealand and South Africa in the pool stages at Westpac Stadium.
Paul John's men began their quest well with a convincing 26-12 win over minnows Niue but last season's series champions South Africa swarmed to a 38-5 victory while the home side had too much power to coast to a 29-5 triumph.
Wales started their campaign well with Ifan Evans (2), Aaron Bramwell and Jevon Groves racing over for tries with Bramwell adding three conversions in their opening game.
South Africa have been a shadow of the side which won last year's series and are determined to close the gap on New Zealand. Unfortunately for Wales, Paul Treu's outfit hit top gear at precisely the wrong moment.
Their speed, timing and guile all returned as South Africa sped over for six tries with Cecil Africa leading the way with a hat trick. Wales only reply came courtesy of Ifan Evans.
New Zealand confirmed their status as tournament favourites with a clinical display of finishing power. Sherwin Stowers, who scored 15 tries in New Zealand's tournament wins in Dubai and South Africa two months ago, once again proved a handful, racing over for a brace with Nafi Tuitavake, DJ Forbes and Ben Souness also touching down.
Wales will now play Papua New Guinea tomorrow in a quarter-final Bowl clash as they seek to claim their third Bowl title on the trot.
Wales 26 Niue 12
South Africa 38 Wales 5
New Zealand 29-5
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.