Wales Sevens reached the Cup quarter-finals of the IRB World Series in London
World champions Wales will face Argentina in the Cup quarter-final on the second day of the Emirates Airline London Sevens at Twickenham after finishing second in their group at the end of a first day that was to clearly to the liking of coach Paul John.
"I was pleased with the day overall. We dug deep against Kenya but I was disappointed with the first game against New Zealand. I'm really pleased to have got through this first day and to have qualified in the top eight" said John.
Wales began the first session of play at RFU headquarters facing World Series title challengers and defending champions New Zealand. The All Blacks, eager to impress in their opening game were quickly off the mark with a try by Kurt Baker, who was followed on the score sheet by the experienced Tomasi Casa and Tim Mikkelson.
Then with half-time approaching Wales were rewarded for their enterprise with a try by Scarlets' youngster Lee Rees.
But it was to be Wales' only score in the tie as New Zealand turned on the power in the second half to score further tries by Casa, Baker (two) and speedster Sherwin Stowers to win 43-5.
It might have been a dispiriting result for most teams but the World Champions responded magnificently with a heroic performance against Kenya to inflict a 22-17 defeat on the east Africans.
Wales' dynamic start clearly shocked the confident Kenyans, who were unable to stop Ifan Evans racing in for the opening score. Then, as Wales found their form, Rhys Jones grabbed a brace of tries and one conversion.
Just before the break Kenya pulled back a score with a try by Humphrey Kayanga to trail Wales 5-17 at the break. But two minutes into the second half, Wales struck with a decisive score, a try from their World Cup medal winner Craig Hill. Kenya hit back with two late tries from Leon Adongo and Collins Injera and looked to be on course to score the winner only for Lee Rees to put in a superb try-saving tackle.
Then against Portugal, Wales staged a superb fightback after trailing 12-0 at the break with second-half tries by Ifan Evans and Craig Hill both converted by Gareth Davies, the second, from the touchline proving to be the match winner.
Wales Sevens squad : Jevon Groves (captain, Cross Keys), Rhys Shellard (Cardiff), Ifan Evans (Llandovery), Craig Hill (Newport), Lee Beach (London Welsh), Lee Rees (Scarlets Academy), Alex Walker (Dragons), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Rhys Jones (Cornish Pirates), Gareth Davies (Cardiff), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Alex Cuthbert (UWIC)
Wales U20 duo Leon Brown and Lloyd Lewis face a busy couple of weeks ahead. Not only will they have a Junior World Championship to take part in, they are both sitting A Level exams during the competition.
Wales U20 face a tough group in the Junior World Championship with France, England and Japan lying in wait but Attack coach Jason Strange and back rower Tom Phillips are looking forward to the campaign ahead.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.