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Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 07:26 UK

Wales' Tom Prydie 'can be a 2011 Rugby World Cup star'

Tom Prydie in action for Wales Under-18 on Sunday
Prydie played for Wales Under-18 the week after winning his first Test cap

Wales coach Warren Gatland has backed 18-year-old Tom Prydie to be a sensation at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"He was very composed with no errors when he won his first cap although he didn't have many chances," he said.

"We'll work on pace and power, there's a lot to do physically, but he could be someone special for the World Cup."

The Ospreys teenager played for Wales Under-18 in Sunday's 22-43 loss to England, the week after becoming Wales' youngest Test cap in the Italy win.

Prydie, from Porthcawl, has played just three times for the Ospreys, where he is behind established international stars Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe and Nikki Walker in the pecking order.

Warren Gatland is full of praise for Tom Prydie

But he looks to be well placed for inclusion in Wales' testing summer schedule that sees them facing South Africa in Cardiff before embarking on a two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Tom James' role must be in doubt following his walk-out on the Wales squad when Prydie was chosen ahead of him against New Zealand.

Leigh Halfpenny may not be considered as he requires an operation, with injury almost certain to rule out Mark Jones.

I'm the youngest Welsh cap, but if I don't get my head down and work hard, that's all I'll be

Tom Prydie

Gatland will need to consider whether to rest veteran Shane Williams, who has had an impressive season off the back of last summer's gruelling British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

The other leading contenders for wing berths are likely to be Dragons pair Aled Brew and Will Harries, plus Prydie's fellow Ospreys young gun Kristian Phillips.

Prydie himself is determined to be remembered for more than being Wales' youngest player.

"This time last year I didn't even expect to be part of the Ospreys squad, never mind achieve everything that I have so far this season," he said.

"To be selected for the Wales squad in the Six Nations was something else, and to end the competition by being picked for the Italy game really topped it off.

"It's not difficult to keep your feet on the ground, there are plenty of people around me who will stop me getting carried away with myself.

"The coaches and the players won't allow that to happen, and to be honest, I realise that I've got a long way to go yet before I can say I've achieved anything.

606: DEBATE

"Coming back here and joining up with the Ospreys again, that much is clear.

"I'm part of the squad, but I realise that people like Shane, Tommy and Nikki are in front of me and if I want to be playing then I've got to reach the standards they set week-in, week-out.

"Okay, yes, I'm the youngest Welsh cap, but if I don't get my head down and work hard, that's all I'll be and I won't be remembered for anything else.

"That's not what I want, so I realise that I've still got a lot of hard work in front of me.

"Between now and the rest of the season I just want to get my head down and play as much rugby as I can, be it for Swansea, the Ospreys or Wales U18s."



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see also
Rugby World Cup fixtures and results
26 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union
James 'to apologise to Gatland'
29 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Gatland hopes Ospreys show Prydie
23 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Wales 33-10 Italy
20 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Prydie can be a superstar - Shane
19 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Prydie set to break Wales record
16 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Prydie's shock at Wales call-up
20 Jan 10 |  Welsh
Teenager Prydie impresses Ospreys
06 Aug 09 |  Welsh
Six Nations table
10 Aug 06 |  Tables
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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