Graham Henry says Wales have made the right decision in planning a gruelling summer schedule which includes a meeting with South Africa in Cardiff before the two-Test tour of New Zealand next month.
The All Blacks boss - who coached Wales between 1998 and 2002 - insists the tough tests could prove key for Warren Gatland's men in the build up to next year's World Cup.
Wales face the world champion Springboks at the Millennium Stadium in the Principality Building Society Summer Test on Saturday 5th June, before embarking on a tour of Gatland's homeland which takes in Wales' world cup venues of Dunedin on Saturday 19th June and in Hamilton a week later.
"I think it will be a very exciting prospect for Warren and he will be looking forward to bringing a Welsh side out here," said Henry. "I think the trip to New Zealand will help Wales before the World Cup next year.
"Warren was keen for the Welsh side to come here and experience New Zealand conditions. Warren has said if you want to be among the best you have to play the best.
"You will improve for having those experiences and you will certainly know where you are. So I think that is a correct statement and sentiment from Warren."
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose
WRUTV caught up with Wales Women captain Rachel Taylor at the RBS 6 Nations launch and how a good crowd really helps boost the girls performance. Tickets for all three Women's home games at The Gnoll, Neath are available from www.wru.wales/tickets