Mark Jones reckons Wales will have to earn their stripes to mark their 600th Test match in style against the USA this weekend.
The youthful Dragons hope to round off their two-Test tour to North America with victory at Toyota Park in Chicago on Saturday.
Wales have never lost to the Eagles in six previous meetings but Jones believes his team-mates will need to be at their best in order to celebrate the historic milestone.
Jones, 29, said: "It's vital that the ship is in order when Warren Gatland and the senior coaches come back from the British Lions for the autumn - it's a big opportunity for all the players to stamp their authority on the tour.
"Everyone will go back and play in the Magners League or Heineken Cup and when the autumn and Six Nations next season comes around, there is a real opportunity for everyone to put their hand up for selection."
Jones is one of only two survivors - along with Cardiff Blues scrum-half Gareth Cooper - on this tour who figured in Wales' 500th international on the summer trip to Japan eight years ago.
Gavin Henson and Jamie Robinson made their Wales debuts in the 64-10 romp in Osaka as a young wing sensation by the name of Shane Williams bagged four tries.
Jones recalled: "I was like a lot of the young players in the squad now. The 500th Test was only my third cap for Wales but I remember it was a roasting hot day and extremely humid.
"Gav made his debut and Shane showed us what he could do so it goes to show the young players on this tour that you can achieve greatness.
"Some have won 60+ caps, others have made several British Lions tours and that is what potentially lies ahead for them.
"Japan was a tough tour because you had to deal with a different language and different style of food but it really matured me as a young player - it was hugely beneficial.
"Although the language isn't a problem in America, the culture is different and it's warm. Obviously, you are a long way from home but it's a great place to tour. Hopefully, all the players, including the senior lads, will come back much stronger for the experience."
Jones has regained full fitness after sitting out last weekend's opening Test against Canada in Toronto with a minor knee injury.
But the Scarlets flyer, capped 46 times, admits his career has come full circle since making his debut as a replacement against England in 2001.
Jones said: "A lot has happened in my career since Wales' 500th game and I've almost come full circle.
"I've had a lot of nasty injuries and there were times when I thought I would never play rugby again. So to be able to put the Wales shirt on 100 games later - although I've not played in them all - is something I'm really proud of.
"The team will want to get the result like we did in the 500th. I scored my first Test try so I'd be delighted if I can sneak over for another one."
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
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