The 34th Junior World Championships have provided plenty of excitement and last night's Celtic clash served up more of the same.
Wales lost a seven try thriller 24-25 to Scotland, and with that defeat they failed to qualify for Saturday's 5th-6th place play off. They will now have to concentrate on emulating the senior side- as they now face Italy in the match to decide seventh place.
Wales youth started brightly, with Matthew Jones underlining his star status with a cheeky side-step to create space for himself to run over. His conversion sailed through and it was 7-0. Wales soon lead by 12 points as Cardiff no.8 James Malpas powered over from five metres to rapturous applause from the travelling Welsh fans.
This served a warning to the Scots and with a precision move the ball found its way to wing Colin Shaw, who evaded welsh hands to cross the line and haul his side back into the game. Full back Sam Hendry converted, then added a penalty, and when powerful hooker Fergus Thompson went over minutes later, the Scots had turned the score around to lead 15-12 at the interval .
The second half ebbed and flowed, the Welsh playing a careful and deliberate game, while the Scots adopted a pacy cut and thrust approach. Tidy handling in the three quarters put in flanker and captain Alistair Hogg, and a conversion and a penalty by Hendry put the Scots into a commanding 25-12 lead.
But the game was far from over, and now it was Wales' turn to raise the tempo. Replacement flanker Jonathan Edwards, and replacement scrum half Adrian Williams both scored tries to set up a thrilling climax.
The match went right to the wire, with both teams having chances to seal victory. The decisive moment came after 80minutes. Wales were awarded a penalty from the half way line, the kick by the impressive young fly half Matthew Jones fell just short- giving the Scots victory by the narrowest of margins.
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.