COACH Byron Hayward is confident that plenty of his Wales Under-20s squad will go on to become full internationals.

The Welsh youngsters were beaten 47-27 by South Africa in the final of the U20 Six Nations Summer Series in Italy.

Wales beat the hosts, Scotland and Georgia in the tournament but were overpowered by the Junior Springboks.

They trailed 26-3 at half-time but showed spirit in the second half with Dragons academy prospect Joe Westwood scoring a try along with Mason Grady, Ethan Fackrell and Cameron Jones.

"You'll see a lot of players from this team come through and play for Wales, and be top class professional players," head coach Hayward.

"You look at Joe (Hawkins), and Daf Jenkins. I thought they were outstanding, and Mason Grady as well.

"They struggled to handle Mason when he had the ball we just struggled to put him into space often enough. You'll see these boys on the senior international stage in the future. There's no doubt about that."

Despite coming up short against an extremely powerful South Africa U20s side Wales have improved dramatically in the space of four months. They endured a difficult U20s Six Nations campaign, but bounced back to make the final.

"They've had a lot of challenges this year especially going into the Six Nations off the back of zero rugby because of covid restrictions etcetera," he said.

"That won't be the case next year. We'll certainly be in a different place next season. We'll be better prepared. The main thing for boys at this age is that they are on the field playing rugby.

"I always say experience is the best teacher and unless you are playing rugby you can't learn."

Hayward believes they can take a lot of learnings out of this season's competition, but also admits they have a long way to go before they can start beating the likes of South Africa.

"We spoke at half-time about how we hadn't fired any shots at all in the first-half," he said. "We said when we come off the field in 40 minutes time lets make sure we've had a go and we've tried.

"We managed to put some points on the board which was pleasing but there's obviously a lot to learn. South Africa are in the top two in the world, and we are quite a way off that at the moment.

"We've come a long way. The boys are in a much better physical condition, and we had a good training camp before we came.

"The boys played some real good rugby at times, and I think if we'd played any other team in the tournament we probably would have been on a level pegging with everyone else."

Dragons wing Oli Andrew, scrum-half Morgan Williams, tighthead Nathan Evans and back rower Ryan Woodman started with centre/full-back Westwood coming off the bench.