A Pembrokeshire rugby player, hailed as one of Welsh rugby’s brightest young talents, has signed a new contract with the Scarlets.

Having started his rugby journey with Tenby RFC juniors, Hughes burst onto the senior stage with two tries on his debut in a pre-season game against Nottingham at Parc y Scarlets two years ago. 

The 20-year-old made his URC debut against the Cell C Sharks in Durban last year and played in two league games during the 2022-23 season under Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel.

He will now challenge Wales senior internationals Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy for the No. 9 jersey at the Scarlets next season.

“It has been great training with the senior squad for the last couple of years and being able to learn off Dwayne, himself a Wales and Lions scrum-half, and the likes of Gareth and Kieran has been fantastic for my development," he said.

“It was a proud moment to make my URC debut in South Africa and hopefully I can push on and get some more appearances under my belt this season.”

A former pupil of Ysgol Greenhill, Hughes was a student at Llandovery College since the age of 14, and played his junior club rugby with Tenby RFC.

He has been in the Scarlets development pathway since his Dewar Shield U15 selection for Mynydd Mawr and Dinefwr Schools and went on to play representative regional rugby for Scarlets U16s and U18s.

He was Wales’ first-choice nine for the U20s Six Nations and has been named in Mark Jones’s squad for the U20s World Championships in South Africa later this month.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Anyone who watched Wales U20s in the Six Nations will be excited by Archie’s potential.

"He is a sharp runner with a good service and always looking to learn off the international nines we have at the club.

"He works hard on his game in training and we are all looking forward to seeing how he progresses in the coming season.”

Meanwhile four Scarlets have been named in the Wales U20s squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships in South Africa, starting later this month.

Scrum-halves Archie Hughes and Harri Williams are joined by prop Josh Morse and hooker Lewis Morgan in the 30-strong party selected by interim head coach Mark Jones, the former Wales and Scarlets wing.

The tournament, hosted in the Cape Town region, returns for the first time since 2019, running from June 24 to July 14, and featuring the top 12 U20 rugby nations.

Played over five match days, Wales are in Pool A where they will face New Zealand, Japan and France.

“It’s a very mixed team in terms of youth and experience,” said Jones. “There are a lot of exciting players in there, particularly around our backline and back row. There is also a lot of potential in the front five moving forward.”

Wales begin their campaign against New Zealand who have won the world crown on five occasions, but Jones is quietly optimistic his young side can be competitive.

“Historically they have been pretty strong in this competition over the years. Someone mentioned the last three times we have played them we have actually won twice,” Jones added.

“It’s not a game we are fearful of – we see it as a real opportunity, we’re very respectful of New Zealand rugby particularly at U20s level.

"Their school system is phenomenal, I’ve experienced it first-hand. When you are playing a New Zealand team it’s a good measure of where you are – your potential as an individual and as a team.

“We also know the French are very strong in the Six Nations.

"They picked up some terrific victories, they gave us a good hiding in that tournament and Japan is one of the fastest rising nations in world rugby so they are going to be a very difficult opponent as well.”

Jones added: “We just want to be better than what we were in the Six Nations around our performance levels.

"If we get the improvements in the areas we have targeted then I think the results will reflect that.

"We’re looking to improve individually and collectively and that will hopefully give us the best chance of results. None of us are going out there not to win games of rugby.”

Wales match schedule: Wales U20 v New Zealand U20 – Saturday, 24 June, Paarl Gymnasium – KO 3pm BST; Wales U20 v Japan U20 – Thursday, 29 June, Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – KO 1pm BST; Wales U20 v France U20– Tuesday, 4 July, Athlone Sports Stadium, Cape Town – KO 3.30pm BST.