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.
In a tight affair, the young Welsh side were staring down the barrel of defeat at halftime with France leading 16-7. The French side, who had already beaten their opponents in March, looked odds on to claim the honours when they shot out to a 30-17 lead but two late converted tries by fly half Jarrod Evans saw Wales snatch a 31-30 to avenge their earlier defeat in Chartres.
Shaun Pearce's try in the first half kept Wales in the game while Thomas Phillips effort brought his side back into the game midway through the second spell after France had shot out to a 23-10 advantage.
Wales showed plenty of grit and determination to get back into the game, which Thomas conceded, if it had been played a month or so ago, victory would probably have eluded them.
"The results over the tournament - and not just the third place play-off show how far this team has come in a relative short space of time," he said.
"It was only a few weeks ago we were beaten comfortably by England at the Gnoll but we so nearly overturned that result and lost only to a last minute penalty while we recorded a narrow win over Scotland in our first game of the tournament.
"To finish off with a win against a very strong France side was very pleasing. The entire squad showed plenty of team spirit to drag themselves back into the game. It shows how far they have come as players but also the coaching staff deserve a pat on the back.
"Shaun [Connor] stepped up to the plate alongside his coaching staff and support staff and created a strong and positive environment with their huge amount of hard work and detail in their delivery which was very much reflected in the results we achieved."
FIRA U18 Championship results:
Fri 11th Apr 14 Wales U18s 23 - 21 Scotland U18s
Tue 15th Apr 14 Wales U18s 9 - 11 England U18s
Sat 19th Apr 14 Wales U18s 31 - 30 France U18s
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
Winger Alex Cuthbert is hoping get plenty of ball on the front foot against Australia tomorrow at Twickenham as Wales seek to halt the Wallabies' 10-match winnning streak which stretches back almost seven years.
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
We look back on the victory over Fiji that makes it three from three for Wales in this World Cup, in a special extra Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Wales coach Warren Gatland, captain Sam Warburton, plus Gethin Jenkins, Tomas Francis, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar, Matthew Morgan and Tyler Morgan, as well as defence coach Shaun Edwards and getting the Fijian perspective from coach John McKee.
We hear about the end of the Rugby World Cup on this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. Wales coach Warren Gatland, captain Sam Warburton and wing George North give their views, while Dragons coach Lyn Jones looks forward. We also hear from Wales U18s and 20s coach Geraint Thomas and Wales Sevens coach Gareth Williams.
The future of Welsh rugby is in safe hands according to Wales Under 18 head coach Geraint Lewis who masterminded his sides 38-8 victory against Portugal in Toulouse to claim fifth spot at the Rugby European U-18 European Championship.
What a weekend it turned out to be for Wales' forwards coach Robin McBryde. On Saturday he saw his forwards lay the foundation for a sensational RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland and a day later he was in the stands at St Helen's to see his son Billy steer Wales Under 18 to a 23-15 victory over England.