Wales Under 18 head coach Allan Lewis is pleased with the progress shown by his squad during the recent eight day European tournament in Madrid.
Wales beat Italy 41-8 to finish in the top four of the tournament, and despite narrow losses to England (22-16), and France (10-7), in the semi-final and third place play-off, Lewis is happy with the development of his young charges.
"The purpose of playing international rugby at this level is to develop players for the future," said Lewis, who is also WRU National Academy Coaching Manager.
"I believe that at this age, the emphasis should be on challenging the opposition with the ball in hand and that's what we've been working on and what we asked of the players over the past week.
"In doing that, you will make mistakes but you could argue that we will have more skilful players who will be adept at whatever tactical approach coaches ask of them at Under 20 level and beyond."
Lewis believes this Under 18 group learned a vast amount from the past ten days. "It was an invaluable experience for these boys to play three competitive games in such a short amount of time.
"Against Italy, we scored some attractive, counter-attacking tries, against England we played some good football in periods, but they scored two tries from driving line-outs which made the difference. Against France, we failed to build the platform we wanted in the set-piece and when we did get some good possession, our basic skills let us know, but this is a good bunch of boys who are developing all the time. Their attitude on and off the field was impeccable.
Lewis believes the input the players received from Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards, who spent five days with the squad will hold them in good stead for the future.
"Shaun Edwards is one of, if not the best and most qualified defence coach in world rugby at the moment, and for him to have had such a direct influence on the players at this stage in their development is fantastic.
"They hung on his every word and his input gave our training sessions a new level of intensity and gave the players so much extra knowledge.
"We are hoping to further the development of this group with some game time against some southern hemisphere opposition in the summer months."
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Wales U20 head coach Byron Hayward and back row Will Boyde believe defence will be the key when they face Ireland tomorrow in the second pool game of the Junior World Championship being held in New Zealand.
Tension was palpable as players waited to hear the announcment of the Wales touring squad of South Africa. Matthew Morgan was one of four uncapped players named in the squad after impressing in the Wales Senior Trial.
Wales Trial, Principality Premiership Awards evening and Wales U20s in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Jamie Roberts and Matthew Rees about the Wales Trial, captain Dafydd Lockyer talks about Pontypridd dominating the Principality Premiership awards, while ahead of the start of the Junior World Championships we talk to Tom Williams, Steffan Hughes, Jack Dixon and Nicky Smith.
Coaches Rob Howley and Robin McBryde today confirmed their Probables and Possibles teams to take part in Friday's Wales Senior Trial at the Liberty Stadium and both are predicting some mouth-watering head-to-heads.
Possibles coach Robin McBryde has given his team a licence to thrill in Friday's Wales Senior Trial match. He tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie that his side will be determined to ruffle a few feathers against the favourites, the Probables.
We look at the squads for the Wales trial, European finals weekend and Wales U20 on this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Warren Gatland and Rob Howley on the trial, full back Hallam Amos on his summer hopes, Wales legend Ieuan Evans welcomes European rugby finals weekend to Cardiff and Wales U20 hooker Ethan Lewis looks ahead to the Junior World Championships.
Wales Under 20 head coach Byron Hayward says last night's 31-19 win over Scotland was a crucial building block as the Junior World Cup rapidly approaches. WRU TV's Liz Jones gets his post match reaction.
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards relives London Wasps triumphs in the Amlin and Heineken Cups in 2003 and 2004 and looks ahead to this year's Heineken and Amlin finals in Cardiff, as well as the Wales trial match.
The future of Welsh rugby looks bright according to Wales Under 18 team manager Will Thomas after he saw his side claim the third place play-off against France in the Fira European Championship held in Poland last week.