The future looks bright as Wales U18 return home
France U18 13-13 Wales U18
Wales U18 returned home this morning from their tour of South Africa on the back of a 13-13 draw with France in their final game.
The three match developmental tour has been an unqualified success with head coach Allan Lewis describing the trip as “hugely successful.”
Narrow defeats to England and South African Schools preceded Saturday’s draw with the French when Wales recovered from a 7-3 half-time deficit to secure a share of the spoils.
Another try from Dafydd Howells who enjoyed a brilliant tour and a score from Tom Ball put Wales in front before a French penalty levelled things up on the hour mark.
But it was the whole experience of the tour and the way the team played that Lewis believes was the main thing to take from the trip.
“The players experienced their first international tour – it’s about going to a different culture, a different country with different food and coping with moving from place to place,” he said.
“To play those three teams away from Wales was a marvellous experience.
“It is all about preparing for future World Cups and future tours. You just can’t measure that experience.”
That experience included playing in front of large crowds and in games where the breakdown was refereed in a slightly different way.
“The refereeing and the application of the law were slightly different out there,” added Lewis. “The boys had to adapt or be penalised.”
Against France, Wales conceded a number of penalties and only two late missed kicks prevented the French from securing what would have been an undeserved victory.
Despite this, Lewis was incredibly happy with how his side performed as they outscored the opposition two tries to one.
“The biggest compliment France could pay us was how they prepared their defence for us,” he said.
“But even then we scored two tries to France’s one. France had two late penalty chances but even then a draw was a fair result.”
The success of the tour means a repeat is likely next year with the next generation of young Welsh players being given the chance to showcase their talents in front of the large crowds the team experienced on tour.
“We had a warm welcome wherever we went,” said Lewis.
“The main purpose was to develop the players’ primary focus and not emphasising the outcome but the development of the players themselves.”
And the way the team were received everywhere they went showed Lewis that his team are going the right way.
“The response of the spectators showed how we are on the right lines,” he said.
“All the neutrals at the three games applauded the boys and the way they played. We must be doing something right.”