Coaching prodigy calls for return of disbanded Wales rugby side to develop next generation of international stars

Hugh Gustafson was the latest guest on WalesOnline’s Welsh Rugby Podcast

However, Wales A has not played since the announcement seven years prior. Hugh Gustafson, head coach of Swansea RFC, head coach of the Ospreys academy skills program, and head of rugby at Swansea University, feels that the Wales A team’s return would provide a more definitive answer regarding whether players like Morgan Morris, Cai Evans, and Keiran Williams can succeed at the Test level.

The main issue, in my opinion, is that there is no Wales A and no standard by which we can evaluate them, thus we must be

brave,” the former Dragons and Ospreys front-rower said on WalesOnline’s Welsh Rugby Podcast.

Josh Adams, Louis Rees-Zammit, or even converting a ten to full-back are our options. We can find solutions for these circumstances.

“How do we determine whether a player is good enough for international rugby when all they have to do is play the sport, and the Six Nations is the next stop? Look at players like Keiran Williams and Morgan Morris.”

“Do you stick with three experienced back-three players, or do you go for someone new and keep two senior sets of wingers with them so you have that maturity alongside them?”

“It kind of depends on Warren’s perspective. Will they go all out to win the Six Nations and then utilize the summer tour to test some of these players, or will it just be a development tournament?

Or is he going to mix these two or three biological brothers with the older boys in this camp? These are the choices that must be chosen.”

The establishment of the Elite Development Competition, which will take place between the semi-professional Premiership and the regional competition starting in the following season, is currently one of the most contentious issues in Welsh rugby. Gustafson, a Premiership coach, thinks it would be a good development for Welsh rugby.


“I think something has got to change because the gap is too big,” stated Gustafson. “Moneyball is the main factor in the Welsh Premiership.

“Better players are acquired for higher salaries, but in this new league, there will be a greater proportion of transition players and younger players who often play together.

“Will playing fewer, more competitive games aid in their development? Although it’s a little jumbled, you’ll still have the Premiership.

However, I need something to alter. What is the Welsh Premiership’s objective?

“Although you receive a trophy at the end, what are we doing together as a team? While we didn’t win many games with those transition guys, we did win with tighthead prop Kian Hire, who is eighteen years old. How many other clubs would take that action?

By the time he turns 19 or 20, he will have played in 20 games, and not many tighthead props play that many games at that age. However, by playing these young individuals, we won’t put ourselves in a position to win the championship.Check out my weekly piece in our rugby newsletter here.

“What is the route and what is the destination is the most important question. Will it become a tournament where participants can grow and succeed, or will it become a competition with mandatory games where the goal is to take home the trophy?

“Something has got to change for the greater good.”

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