World Champions Wales suffered a drop in prestige after failing to qualify for the quarter finals of the Cup in the Emirates Airline London Sevens at Twickenham.
In the penultimate tournament of the 2008/09 IRB World Sevens Series, Wales began the opening day by facing the World Series leaders, South Africa. In the event the Springboks showed why they are favourites to lift the 2008/09 title with a 29-5 win with two tries and a conversion from Mzwandile Stick and one apiece from Renfred Dazel and Gio Aplen, Wales coming from a first half try from Craig Hill.
It required Wales to beat Australia in their second pool match if the Welsh seven were to progress to the quarter finals of the Cup. But it was not to be despite a great start from Wales that put them into a 14-0 lead with tries from Ifan Evans and Craig Hill both converted by Aled Thomas.
But it was then that Australia found their rhythm scoring tries by Patrick McCutcheon, James Stannard and Shaun Foley (2) to take a 24-14 lead. Wales, having been starved of possession in the second half, were able to recover with a try by Tal Selley converted by Thomas but any hopes of a last gasp win were crushed when Aussie winger Francis Fainfot raced in for the decisive try, converted by Stannard for a 31-21 win.
With the Cup quarter finals gone all that remained for Wales was a show of pride in their final pool match against rookies, Germany. A big score was expected and a big score was delivered from a brace of tries by Ifan Evans and one apiece from Craig Hill, Will Harries, James Merriman and Tom Isaacs, five of these scores converted by Rhys Jones.
The result means that Wales finish third in Pool A and will play Georgia in the quarter finals of the Bowl.
Wales squad: Tom Edwards, Rhys Jones, Tal Sellley, Ifan Evans, Craig Hill, Rhys Shellard,, Jevon Groves, Will Harries, Tom Isaacs, James Merriman, Aled Thomas, Lee Beach.
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.