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)
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.