Very much so, since the inception of the WRU Championshjp competition we only managed to reach one final in the first two years. We did a lot of work in last year's pre season and appointed some good quality coaches which paid dividends. The players put in a lot of hard work and deserved to reach the three finals. Having said that we lost in two finals so we're not the finished article but certainly the progress this year has been pleasing and lays a good foundation for next year
Will many of this years under 16's graduate to the under 18's next year?
We're in the fortunate position of having two under 16's teams playing at a high level so it gives our under 18's a wider base to pick from. For next season we still have 14 of the current under 18 squad still eligible to play inn the under 18 competition, in addition to this we have some of the north and south squad will be vying to make up the rest of the squad.
No ones place is guaranteed and the competition to get in to next seasons under 18 team is stronger than ever. The north reached the final this year and have a lot of good players, as do the south, so it will be a hard task for me and the coaching team.
To begin with we will have squad of 40 which will be reduced as the summer progresses. It's important for us to have depth in the squad due to injury, holidays and players academic commitments.
Will there be any changes in the age grade system next year?
The under 20's won the final this year but next season it will be structured differently. We will have three games in September and then a five week break, then two games in November and another break. We are keen to build on the success of the under 20's But the aim is to work alongside our regions three Welsh premiership sides.
Are there any players from the Under 20's that we should be looking out for this season?
A lot of the players in the under 20's squad are in the Blues academy and you have players such as Sam Warburton and Luke Ford who play at Glamorgan Wanderers on academy contracts. Patrick Palmer and Jevon Groves are two good forwards to keep and eye on and played a big part in the Wales U19 RWC success in Ireland during April.
In terms of the Academy, players such as Ross Johnston and Rhys Gill played really well for Cardiff RFC in the premiership and hopefully they can make their mark with the Blues next year.
Bradley Davies and Tom James have shown what can be done, and proves that the Academy really does produce the players. Tom was given his chance and has done well after only playing in the premiership on a dozen occasions scoring 11 tries in the process.
Are many of the players combining academic studies with their rugby development?
The majority of lads are in university, studying courses such as civil engineering, English, chemistry and history. We have good links with Glamorgan University and Cardiff University which allows them a bit more time to train. Obviously we have to be very careful in managing the lad's commitments as we don't want their academic studies to suffer.
For example we have two identical training sessions a day, one in morning one in afternoon, so hopefully the boys can attend at least one of them without missing any lectures.
What are you targets for next season?
We reached three finals this season which was great. However, each individual age group will set their own targets and I imagine the goals will be to reach final again next year.
Personally, I just want to see them do well and develop and get a professional experience. I'd like to open the players' eyes to see what is happening in the professional game and the opportunities they can have if they work hard. Obviously I'd like to win all three competitions but we can't always be judged on finals.
There are a number of factors that can influence your season but as long as we develop the players I am happy. National selection is also a good indicator of how well we are developing the players. This season we had 11 boys in the Wales under 18's, 11 boys in Wales under 16's and 9 boys in Wales under 19's during this years Rugby World cup in Northern Ireland. It's important to see the bigger picture.