Stephen Jones believes Jonny Wilkinson's move to France has re-ignited his career.
Wales fly-half Jones will go head-to-head with Toulon star Wilkinson in the Six Nations opener at Twickenham tomorrow (Sat).
And Jones, who spent two years at Clermont Auvergne between 2004-06, reckons the England number ten is back to his best. Jones, 32, said: "Jonny seems to be enjoying his life at Toulon. I know playing in France is great because I loved my time there.
"It's a different challenge physically and he will have learnt about playing in a different climate, culture, language and environment. But Jonny is playing really well again and still a top defender."
The British Lions duo have been shining lights in the northern hemisphere and stuck the boot into their rivals over the past decade. Between Jones and Wilkinson, 30, the pair have scored almost 1,800 points at Test level but have rarely gone into battle against each other in direct competition.
Jones added: "I've been on the same field as Jonny in other positions but I've only ever played at fly-half against him once and that was way back in 2003 at the World Cup. He's a great player and we are friends. I speak to him now and again but I've a huge amount of respect for him especially for what he has achieved in the game.
"It will be a tough and physical game. We will not underestimate them."
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.