‘The flair was coached out of an entire generation’: Why Welsh rugby is struggling for young talent
With many of Wales’ longest serving rugby players in what could be their last game, attention turns to the future.
Warren Gatland has named a number of veteran players in the line-up as Wales take on France in their final game of the Six Nations.
Taulupe Faletau will win his 100th cap alongside centurions Dan Biggar, George North and Alun Wyn Jones.
But many Welsh fans have the same question: Where is the next generation?
For former Wales under 20s and current Neath Rugby coach Patrick Horgan, the issue is clear.
“The flair, the decision making, the vision was coached out of a generation of players,” said Horgan.
“I honestly feel that. It was rife throughout Welsh rugby from under 7s right the way up to seniors, they were playing ‘Warren Ball’.”
For Horgan, Wales’ success under Gatland has led to an insistence on his style of powerful, less complicated rugby.
But with Gatland returning at a time where many of his once-mighty players are entering the twilight of their career, there are questions over whether he can succeed with this style anymore.
He has even admitted that this might be the last time as many as eight players pull on the Wales jersey in a press conference.
The message to them who might be playing their last Six Nations game is enjoy the occasion and the moment. For a lot of them, it might be the last time they do that.”
Even with the scrapping of the 60 cap rule, which fans hope may encourage a generation financially, there is no guarantee that change will come quickly enough to boost Wales’ hopes for the next World cup.