Phil Davies' Wales Under 20 side kick-off their 2009 campaign against Scotland in Perth on Friday night (kick-off 7.10pm) knowing that things will only get warmer as they progress from the Six Nations into the IRB Junior World Championships.
For snow bound Scotland in February think hot, sticky and wet Fukuoka in June, when Wales will meet Tonga, Canada and Australia in Pool D of the World Championships.
There is a long way to go before the global kick-off in Japan - Wales finished fourth in the 2008 event on home soil - and the Six Nations series is very much in focus for Davies and his players.
"The players have put in a huge amount of effort and commitment in the build-up to the Six Nations. The Regions have also played their part in facilitating our preparations," said Davies.
"I'm really happy with the squad we've got and there is a lot of talent coming through. The Scots will provide a tough start for us in what is going to be a very interesting and competitive five months for these players."
Ebbw Vale back row man James Thomas has been given the honour of leading the side and last season's Under 18 international is well aware that good performances throughout the two championships could lead to professional contracts.
"It's a dream to lead your country - it's brilliant. A lot of us were together at Under 18 level last year and we have come across the players from last year's Under 20s in the various competitions this season, so we are a pretty tight-knit squad," said Thomas, who is in the Dragons Academy.
"It is going to be a hard five months for this squad with the Six Nations and then the IRB Junior World Championships in Japan. But we are all looking to enjoy the experience and pick up as many wins as possible along the way.
"We think that at our best we can beat the best teams. We have players in our side like Ashley Beck, Jason Tovey and Kristian Phillips who are full-time pros with Welsh Regions and we've all seen Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Biggar pick up full Welsh caps this season before they have got out of their teens.
"My ambition is to join Jason Tovey in the Dragons squad next season and I hope that playing in the Six Nations Under 20 tournament will take me closer to that goal."
Wales will meet England at the Brewery Field, Bridgend in their second game on Friday, 13 February (kick-off 7.10pm). The English were Grand Slam champions at this age group last season and also reached the final of the World Junior Championships.
Tickets for that game are available from:
- WRU shop, Gate 3, Westgate Street (Mon - Sat 9.30 - 5pm)
- Ticketline, Westgate Street, Cardiff (Mon - Sat 9 - 5.30pm, phone bookings can be made by calling 02920 230130)
- Tickets are £5 for juniors and students, £10 and £15 for adults
Wales Under 20 (v Scotland): Jason Tovey (Dragons); Kristian Phillips (Ospreys / Neath), Nick Reynolds (Llanelli), Ashley Beck (Ospreys / Aberavon), Adam Hughes (Dragons academy / Bedwas); Dai Langdon (Dragons academy / Ebbw Vale), Rhys Downes (Blues academy / Pontypridd); Dan Watchurst (Dragons academy / Bedwas), Rhys Williams (Blues academy / Pontypridd), Scott Andrews (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), Sam Pailor (Pontypool), Ashley Sweet (Dragons academy / Cross Keys), James King (Ospreys academy / Aberavon), Josh Navidi (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers), James Thomas (Dragons academy / Ebbw Vale, Captain)
Replacements: Simon Gardener (Scarlets academy / Llanelli), Craig Attwell (Dragons academy / Newbridge), Dan Partridge (Beddau), Jake Thomas (Cardiff), James Leadbeater (Cross Keys), Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys academy / Neath), James Loxton (Blues academy / Glamorgan Wanderers)
IRB World Junior Championships Draw
Pool A: New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, Uruguay
Pool B: England, Samoa, Scotland, Japan
Pool C: South Africa, France, Italy, Fiji
Pool D: Wales, Australia, Canada, Tonga
Friday, 5 June: Tonga v Wales (19.00, Fukuoka)
Tuesday, 9 June: Wales v Canada (19.00, Fukuoka)
Saturday, 13 June: Wales v Australia (15.00, Fukuoka)
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RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
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Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event