Wales Under 20 head coach Danny Wilson believes his side's performances in the Junior World Championship, in particular the win over New Zealand in the Pool round, will give other Welsh age grade sides confidence for the future.
Ospreys were well represented throughout the tournament by Ross Jones, Luke Morgan, Eli Walker, Matthew Morgan, Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield, Dan Baker, and Rhodri Hughes.
Wilson, said: “This group of players has shown that they can beat the best sides in the world at this level. Hopefully that will spur on other age group sides to do the same.
“We are pleased with our third place finish. That was our aim once we lost in the semi. We weren’t great in the second half against Argentina but we did enough in the first half to hold on for the win to cap off a great tournament.
“Our performances and results in this tournament show that Wales is producing players that can compete with the best teams in the world which shows that our academy and regional systems are delivering players.
“Our target was to get two bonus point wins over Fiji and Samoa and do as well as we could against New Zealand in the Pool rounds. Against the Pacific Islanders, we showed that we could be dominant up front and also turn on the gas when required within our back division, plus to beat New Zealand more than exceeded expectations.
“We have to keep our feet on the gas to continue to improve but the foundations are certainly there, we just have to continue making them better and better.”
Wilson concedes that the 30-6 loss to New Zealand in the semi-final shows that there is still a gap between sides like New Zealand and the rest in some areas.
“Our contact area was one of our strengths in the earlier games but it dropped off in the semi and third place play-off,” he said. “That is where New Zealand are superb, but also in their clinical finishing.
“When they play wide they have so much potency and finishing ability – we had more opportunities than them in the semi-final but their wide strike runners are the best in the world and they took every chance to score. That is one area we need to work on in Wales.”
Overall, Wilson sees the experience as a hugely positive one, for all involved in this campaign.
“Playing high pressure rugby at Newlands Stadium in the semi-final and third place play-off was a great experience for the boys in front of such a big crowd,” he added.
“The ball-in-play time was 37 minutes which is the same as Regional games so this is a good preparation for these boys to play regional rugby. I must say the players have shown an impeccable attitude both on and off the pitch, they have been a credit to Wales and to the development system.”