Wales U20s captain: Training intensity has gone through the roof

First published in Wales rugby

CAPTAIN Steffan Hughes says there has been no hiding place for Wales Under-20s at intense preparations for next month's Junior World Championship, writes Chris Kirwan.

Big brother has been watching the Welsh youngsters as they gear up for the tournament at their Vale of Glamorgan headquarters.

The squad have been tracked by GPS enabling the coaches to ensure that everyone is grafting hard ahead of the competition in New Zealand.

"The boys have benefitted massively from that and I think the level of intensity in training and in our games have gone up," said Scarlets centre Hughes.

"We saw that against Scotland, especially in the first half when we had some ball and got into some phases and showed we were fit."

Byron Hayward's squad fly Down Under tomorrow and will have to cope with increased expectations thanks to the performances of their predecessors.

The class of 2012 finished third in South Africa, beating New Zealand in the group stages, while last year's group were runners-up to England.

Wales will have to do things the hard way to match those efforts after being drawn against Fiji, Ireland and Grand Slam-winning France in Pool B.

Hughes said: "The semi-finals is the target, and it has to be - you have to try and win it. The target is to get out of the group and then go from there. At any level of rugby, when it comes down to a semi-final in a major competition, it's all about who performs on the day.

"It's a tough group, but it's a big challenge for us that we're looking forward to and hopefully we can execute our gameplan and play to the level we need to.

"The schedule is massively demanding on your body and the games are at a higher level than the Six Nations so the recovery process is going to be important."

Wales open up against Fiji on June 2 and have three days off between their fixtures against Ireland and France.

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