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."
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
James Davies was one of three Welsh players announced in Team GB's men's sevens squad for Rio yesterday at a sweltering Trafalgar Square. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie battles with a Japanese tour guide as 'Cubby' reveals who has made his teammate, Sam Cross, the player he is today.
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Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
Wales Under 18s face a huge task to come away with a victory in their final game of the Under-19 International Series at Paarl Boys' High tomorrow when the face an on-fire South Africa Schools 'A' side.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.