...By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
Warren Gatland is on the lookout for players for the World Cup after Wales’ poor performance in the Six Nations.
However, the four regions’ defeats over the weekend are a reminder that expectations shouldn’t be too high.
Despite this, individual Welsh players did stand out.
Taulupe Faletau, for instance, played well for Cardiff in their loss against Connacht, and Rhys Carre made a mark off the bench.
Nevertheless, there were other players that Gatland was impressed with.
Rhodri Williams has not played for Wales for nine years. Despite this, he has been playing better than any other Welsh scrum-half lately.
Despite being the captain of the Dragons, Williams has been delivering excellent performances for the struggling side.
He doesn’t wilt in the face of adversity and can even boss a game from No. 9.
Though there is fierce competition to be in the pool of No. 9s, Williams’s recent form may earn him a spot in the World Cup training squad.
Taine Basham, another forgotten Welsh player, had a strong game against Ulster on Friday evening.
His stats show that he made 84 meters from 12 carries, with seven defenders beaten and two of his runs resulting in clean line busts.
He also had a dozen tackles, eight passes, and a try assist.
Basham’s all-action style of play makes him a valuable asset to the Welsh team.
Despite being replaced on 50 minutes for the Ospreys against Edinburgh, Dewi Lake played well for them.
He scored two tries and is ferociously hard to stop near the opposition line.
An injury prevented him from playing for Wales in the Six Nations, but he is a player who will be important to Wales during the World Cup.
Keiran Williams has been exceptional for the Ospreys in three games since the Six Nations.
He makes ground for his side and is a powerful runner.
Williams piledriving runs make him an asset to any team, yet it remains a mystery why Wales have not utilized him.
It has been six years since Lawrence Dallaglio called Thomas Young “phenomenal” and urged Wales to pick him. He has only won four caps since then.
Young was playing superbly before a lower-leg injury dashed his hopes of playing in the Six Nations.
Young is a quality acquisition for Cardiff and rarely has a bad game.
Corey Domachowski’s and Keiron Assiratti’s scrum power helped the Blues dump Sale out of the EPCR Challenge Cup recently.
He had another solid game against Connacht, not only putting in a shift in the pushing and shoving stakes but also denting the Irish team’s defense with his carrying.
Carwyn Tuipulotu may be turning into the player his admirers in age-grade rugby thought he could be.
In difficult conditions, he frequently crossed the gain line, and his defense was unerring.
Wales desperately needs another No. 8 for their succession plan after Taulupe Faletau, and Tuipulotu may be that player.
It’s too early to tell, but he is worth tracking.
While the Six Nations was a disappointment for Wales, there are still players that Gatland can count on for the World Cup.
These players have shown that they have what it takes to be assets to the Welsh team.
They may not have featured in the Six Nations, but their performances in the United Rugby Championship show that they can deliver when it matters.
Gatland will undoubtedly keep an eye on them in the