Ross Moriarty has been tipped for “bigger and bigger things” following his outstanding display in Wales’ RBS 6 Nations clash against England.
The 22-year-old Gloucester back-row forward is just 14 games into his Test match career.
But such was the impact he made during Wales’ 21-16 defeat five days ago, which was a continuation of his international form last year, that he is now being talked about by some pundits as a contender for this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Back-row competition will be intense for the 10-match trip – Lions head coach Warren Gatland names his squad on April 19 – yet Moriarty continues to win admirers through his powerful, all-action style.
“He can go a lot further, without doubt,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Robin McBryde said.
“He has come on leaps and bounds, and last Saturday was evidence of how effective he can be, both with and without the ball.
“His ball carrying is obviously a big plus for us, but on Saturday he offered an all-round game. He put some telling tackles in.
“Admittedly, he is playing in a little bit of an unfamiliar position for him at number eight, but he is going to go on to bigger and bigger things.”
Such are Wales’ back-row riches, that Moriarty is not guaranteed a starting place on the resumption of Six Nations business against Scotland at Murrayfield in nine days’ time.
Bath star Taulupe Faletau returned from injury by replacing Moriarty in the second-half against England, while both of Wales’ 2013 Lions flankers – Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric – are in blistering form.
“We are blessed there with all those (back-row) names in the hat, as well as James King,” McBryde added.
“It is a very keenly-contested area. It is a nice headache to have.
“You have also got to look at what the opposition are doing. The balance is going to be key and the type of game we want to employ, plus the threats the opposition possess.”
Wales boss Rob Howley is not due to name his starting line-up until next Thursday, and lock Luke Charteris could be in the selection frame.
Charteris missed Wales’ appointments with Italy and England due to a fractured hand, and McBryde said: “He did a bit of passing today, albeit he has still got a bit of protection on his hand. Everything is going in the right direction.”
Wales have suffered a solitary defeat against Scotland since 2003, but their displays against Ireland and France this month mean that impressive record could come under serious threat.
“I know Scotland have got a few injury concerns, but they will be ready for us,” McBryde added.
“It’s normally a fast game, the breakdown is always a keenly-contested one, and they have always got one or two things up their sleeve at lineout time, which we saw in their first game against Ireland.
“They will be heartened and will take a lot of confidence from their first two matches, as we have done, so it’s all to play for. It is never easy going up to Murrayfield, and we are just looking forward to a great contest.
“They have got some dangerous runners behind, and they will be keen to use those runners. They caused France a few headaches, and when they get that tempo in their game as well, they are a big threat.
“There were a lot of good things (against England). You can perhaps focus too much on what went wrong and what we should have done differently, and forget the good stuff.
“The players and management have all put their hands up where we think we could have done something a bit better. There has been a good honesty and accountability across the board, and that is the way we move forward.
“Overall, against Italy and England, there has been a willingness to play, a willingness to get out there and play rugby, and that will be the case against Scotland.”