They are the Wales internationals who spent the autumn on the outside looking in.
Many of them may not say it, but all will still crave the opportunity to pull on their country’s jersey once again.
For a number of those listed below, it’s a case of odds-against.
But a few just may interest Wayne Pivac for the autumn.
We look at the XV of out of form and out of favour players who’ll want to return to the fore.
15. Ioan Lloyd
“If Ioan Lloyd does not win at least 50 caps, I will be amazed. He has the ability to be Wales’ Cheslin Kolbe.”
So tweeted the Press Association’s much-respected rugby correspondent Andrew Baldock after a piece of Lloyd magic against Exeter Chiefs last year.
But the 20-year-old hasn’t featured in a Test for Wales since 2020, when his defence looked in need of work. He made Wayne Pivac’s squad for the summer Tests but didn’t win a cap even though Wales found the going tough, particularly against Argentina.
Is he a full-back, wing or fly-half?
Wherever he plays, e is a talent, a player who can make spectators rise from their seats with his skill and audacity.
His time will surely come.
14. Jonah Holmes
Holmes finished last season as arguably the form player in Welsh rugby, with 10 tries in 10 games for the Dragons.
Fast-forward to the autumn and he was left out of Wales’ squad for the Tests with New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia.
Two tries for his region against Connacht had suggested he could be returning to form, but with the east Wales team trapped in a losing cycle, the former Leicester Tiger has found it hard to replicate last term’s eye-popping exploits.
13. Tyler Morgan
Ex-Dragons coach Darren Edwards once reportedly called Morgan an outstanding talent, saying he had the potential to succeed Brian O’Driscoll as the top centre in the British Isles.
That was seven years ago.
Injuries haven’t helped Morgan’s cause since — he’s been off limits at the Scarlets this term — but he has a turn of pace that can take him past defenders and the footwork to go with it.
If he can bank game-time he still has plenty to offer.
12. Owen Watkin
It seems weird to record that this guy hasn’t been seen in Test action since his finest moment in a Wales shirt, namely the match-saving tackle against Scotland in last year’s Six Nations.
Such is life.
Wales want Watkin to add to his attacking game.
There are signs of an encouraging partnership with Michael Collins at the Ospreys, so all is far from lost for a centre Warren Gatland used to admire.
But he needs a big performance or two to put himself firmly back in the Wales midfield mix.
11. Steff Evans
The Scarlet remains one of Welsh rugby’s most creative players but he hasn’t played in a Test since the World Cup warm-up against Ireland in 2019 and there are no obvious signs that a recall is imminent.
In the past, Pivac has identified two sides to Evans’ game — his sharp attacking play and the need for him to be ‘tougher with the ball’ in the contact area and improve under high kicks.
His ability to fashion scores out of nothing will always be valued and he’ll doubtless be striving for a Test summons once again.
He might need a few breaks to go his way, though.
10. Sam Davies
Rewind eight-and-a-half years and Sam Davies was named World Rugby’s junior player of the year ahead of Ardie Savea. His kicking out of hand and ability to control play were on a different level from other No. 10s in the tournament.
Stop off in 2016 and he was being touted as a potential Lion by Stuart Barnes and also playing for Wales.
But a subsequent groin injury knocked Davies off course and he hasn’t started a Test since 2017.
Who would have thought it?
He started this campaign well and could count himself unlucky to miss out on a call for the autumn Tests, but the Dragons’ ongoing struggles haven’t made it easy for him and his challenge is to achieve the consistency that might once again interest the Wales selectors.
9. Rhys Webb
Well, it’s hard to call Webb out of form after his effort for the Ospreys against the Scarlets in Llanelli.
He stood out on an evening when the hosts started with Gareth Davies and brought on Kieran Hardy.
But that Webb has been out of favour is also not in doubt. Just one start under Wayne Pivac underlines that point.
His effort last weekend, though, was one of the best by a Welsh scrum-half this season.
1. Nicky Smith
He may not have been included in Wales’ squad for the autumn but Pivac’s team endured a tough campaign scrummaging-wise and the assumption is the selectors will have been considering other options.
Smith is having a fine season.
Against Munster in Swansea he helped destroy the Irish team’s scrum and he has maintained a good standard.
He’ll be there or thereabouts for a recall for the Six Nations.
2. Sam Parry
Five caps have come his way under Pivac yet four of them were off the bench and the Wales selectors have never seemed entirely sold on him.
Parry is strong and mobile and good over the ball, though.
He’s had to battle with Elvis Taione for first-choice status at the Ospreys but Parry remains a decent option.
3. Samson Lee
It’s approaching 14 months since Lee’s cap, against England in Llanelli when Wales were under all kinds of pressure in the scrums, though the problems were not all down to Lee — far from it. Indeed, while he gave away one penalty, the other Welsh props that day conceded six between them.
Nevertheless, Lee hasn’t featured since. Absences from the Scarlets team haven’t helped, though it’s not as if they have played much this season, anyway.
4. Matthew Screech
The hard-working Cardiff player won his first cap in the summer but wasn’t picked for the autumn despite Wales being stretched in the second row.
Again, a lack of rugby will not have done his cause much good.
But he is a player who doesn’t let his head drop and can be relied on to put in a shift.
5. Rory Thornton
The 6ft 7in former Wales U20 captain was once seen as having the potential to take over from Alun Wyn Jones with the Ospreys and Wales. A serious shoulder injury changed the script.
Now at Cardiff, he remains a respected lineout forward and he has shown at times he can still excel in his general play, with his display against Cell C Sharks in October outstanding.
Just maybe, he’ll need a break or three to go his way to secure another Test chance, though.
6. Aaron Shingler
He’s 34, so it’s a bit of a long shot to think he’ll add to his 27 caps, the last of which came against England in the spring of 2020.
But the Scarlet is an exceptional lineout organiser and he made a difference when coming off the bench against the Ospreys last weekend.
Offering him hope on the Wales front is that Pivac picks on form rather than age.
But he’s going to need to hit high standards and maintain them to stand any chance of a summons.
7. Ollie Griffiths
Whisper it, but one of Welsh rugby’s unluckiest players is putting together a run of the games for the Dragons. Injuries have bedevilled him over the years, but he’s been figuring regularly for his region this term and gradually moving up the gears.
If Taine Basham has been dominating the headlines with his all-action game, Griffiths has the ability to startle as well.
Watching him play for Wales U20 against Ireland back in the day, one of Wales’ greatest flankers, Martyn Williams, said of the then teenager: “I have not seen an openside perform like that in many a year.
“I would get him on a five-year or ten-year deal straight away! He is going to be a star.”
It isn’t too late for the 26-year-old to hit the heights and add to the solitary cap he has in his locker, won against Tonga in 2017.
8. Josh Turnbull
Recalled by Wales last summer, after an excellent campaign for Cardiff, he found himself out of favour at national level for the autumn.
But at the Arms Park they know his worth with his consistency and ability to play across the back row.
Wales’ depth in that area makes it challenging for anyone, but Turnbull’s versatility is in his favour.
As with others, though, he’ll need good fortune to land another chance.
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