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."
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.