Let’s be honest, hope is all we’ve got at the moment and the hope of a brighter future seems as good a reason as any to try and cobble together some words however incoherent. Hopefully (you see what I did there?) in 2023 there should be a Rugby World Cup in France and in theory at least this should provide the Northern Hemisphere teams with a slight edge in terms of conditions so I thought now would be an opportune time to wonder who Pivac might pick for Wales in 3 and a half years time (plus RugbyPass did it and I have absolutely no shame when it comes to borrowing other people’s ideas, and nobody’s reading this nonsense anyway)
- Rhys Carre – he’s huge, he can run and he’s a ball player and he’ll be 25 by then.
- Elliott Dee – seems to be the safest pair hands at set pieces and he’ll be 29 by then so should be starting to hit his peak
- Tomas Francis – he’s also huge and gets better with every Test season so when he’s 32 he should be almost unplayable.
- Christ Tshiunza – the teenager signed for Exeter Chiefs last season and I’m not one to miss a hype train. He was 6 foot 6 at 17 years of age so when he’s 21 he could be a certifiable giant who’s learned from Johnny Gray
- Alun-Wyn Jones – the only human I’d back to defeat age, plus he’ll have a 22 year old running around like a gazelle alongside him.
- Shane Lewis-Hughes – I’m a really big Jim Botham fan but a healthy 25 year old Lewis-Hughes would be a handful for anyone.
- Ellis Jenkins – why have just one Ellis in the pack when you could have 2. Plus a fit Jenkins genuinely challenges for the role of best open side in world rugby.
- Sam Moore – he’s 6 feet 5!!! Yes, I have abandoned the notion of subtlety in the forwards. Plus he’ll be 24 by the time the tournament rolls around.
- Tomos Williams – he’ll be 28 in 3 years and he’s got all the skills you could want in an exciting half back. And hopefully (again) he will have played with Moore at regional level for a while by then.
- Gareth Anscombe – he will be 32 by then but Dan Carter won the RWC when he was 33 (yes, that’s absolutely an apt comparison don’t you judge me).
- Mason Grady – it’ll probably be too soon since he’s just 17 at the moment but he looked a constant threat at U20’s level this season and at 6 feet 5 Cory Allen’s younger (not little) brother is full of potential.
- Nick Tompkins – he’ll be 28, he’s tough as nails and probably more adept at operating in the heavy traffic around the breakdown than he is in the 13 channel (and he’s pretty solid out there too).
- Corey Baldwin – another migrating to windy Exeter but he’s the most talented age grade Centre I’ve seen since Hal Luscombe made Italy’s U21’s team look like an U18’s team at Sardis Road way back when.
- George North – he’ll be in his early 30’s by then but even he loses a yard of pace he’ll still be huge and tricky to stop. Could well be Louis Rees-Zammit though
- Ioan Lloyd – he is seriously quick and although he’s technically a Fly Half his ability to ghost in space out wide is spectacular and he could just as easily outstrip his support as make defenders miss.
Ok, so it’s more of a list of bolters as it is a possible starters but even for a very miserable pessimist the options that Pivac has in terms of exciting attacking players are pretty exciting.