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)
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.