Tom Prydie made his debut in the 2010 RBS 6 Nations match for Wales against Italy
Phil Davies defended his record as Wales Under-20 coach and says the conveyor belt of talent to the national team has never been stronger.
Wales finished third in the 2010 Under-20 RBS 6 Nations and were on the receiving end of a heavy defeat to arch-rivals England leaving several local commentators to question Davies’ accomplishments.
But WRU national academy manager Davies maintains he should be judged for developing players as well as securing victory and was quick to point to the emergence of Tom Pryide – Wales youngest ever debutant in the RBS 6 Nations.
“Of the 26 players in our U20 squad for the forthcoming IRB World Championship, 15 have already gained professional regional experience for one of the four Welsh teams,” said Davies who was speaking to the Western Mail.
“These include Kristian Phillips, who was a member of Warren Gatland’s Six Nations squad, Ashley Beck, who has made numerous appearances for the Ospreys this season, and Toby Faletau, who is becoming a regular for the Dragons.
“We can already point to success stories such as Sam Warburton, Dan Biggar, Jason Tovey, Leigh Halfpenny and there are a clutch more.
“Our most recent U20 graduates include young men such as Lloyd Williams and Justin Tipuric, who have savoured the pace and passion of regional rugby and Wales sevens action.
“Who can forget the moment when Tom Prydie became the youngest player to pull on a senior Welsh jersey in the recent Six Nations?
“So many of our young players are developing quickly. That is great for the broad base of elite Welsh rugby and counts towards strengthening the succession plan which our head coach Warren Gatland has to rely on for his squads of the future.
“As our talent base gets bigger, we must seek the victories which our followers expect and demand.
“My aim today is to help foster more understanding of the important and focused body of work which is going on here in Wales to identify and develop the next generation of players, coaches and match officials to represent Welsh rugby."