Listen to some, and Alun Wyn Jones wouldn't make the Lions tour.
But he did and now he appears ready to take a fresh guard for the new season.
What headlines can we expect for him and for other members of Welsh rugby’s golden generation over the coming campaign?
Read more : How Wales' World Cup squad looks exactly two years out
And what other storylines will unfold in the game in Wales?
Ahead of the action starting, we take a look.
Sam Davies to nudge Wayne Pivac
Rewind to 2016 and Stuart Barnes was floating the idea of Sam Davies potentially touring with the Lions the following year.
The then Ospreys youngster had started the season well, impressing with his pinpoint kicking out of hand and ability to play flat. “He kicks with Sexton’s sort of variety and loves to play on the gain line, where defenders have less time to operate,” enthused Barnes. Eight caps for Wales arrived in the space of nine months.
But an injury knocked Davies off course and troubled him over the next campaign.
He hasn’t won a cap since.
Now with the Dragons, he retains his expert kicking ability out of hand and the new 50:22 rule should suit him. The rule is that if the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half and it bounces into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw to the resultant lineout.
It shouldn’t be beyond a player of Davies’ quality to exploit such a regulation, what with Dan Biggar once touting Davies, junior world player of the year in 2013, as one of the best kickers out of hand in European rugby.
Can the forgotten 10 in Welsh rugby make it back into Wales contention?
Certainly he has a rugby brain and kicking skills to justify Pivac checking on his early season form. And Wales could need a 10 heading into their out-of-window Test against the All Blacks this autumn, with a number of their fly-halves off limits.
Don’t rule Davies out of the mix.
Rhys Priestland shines on return to Welsh rugby
It is going to be fascinating to see how Cardiff juggle their fly-half resources in the coming season.
At times last term, Jarrod Evans opened defences with the skill and assurance of an expert safe cracker. No matter what the code the opposition had set in place, a show-and-go from Evans seemed to be all it took for the rearguard to fly open.
Not all were convinced, however.
Evans was one of only two Wales squad players not to play a single minute in the 2021 Six Nations, with Ryan Elias the other.
There was also the occasional social-media grumble about his game control at regional level.
There shouldn’t be any complaints on that count over Rhys Priestland.
He may not have the dazzle of Evans but he can nurse a side around a pitch and if he shows up well in the early rounds of the United Rugby Championship he could be there or thereabouts to play for Wales against New Zealand this autumn.
His vast experience and ability to run matches could appeal to Pivac.
Young Costelow makes his mark with Scarlets
Staying on the theme of No. 10s, there’s one to watch at the Scarlets.
Sam Costelow is only 20, yet he has displayed unmistakable flashes of class when he has played for the west Walians. He is quick to spot gaps and backs himself to exploit them.
The Pencoed product is also developing his kicking game and he isn’t afraid to tackle, showing his mettle in the recent friendly with Nottingham by not only stopping an opposition ball-carrier on the Scarlets’ line but also by driving him backwards.
The youngster’s first challenge will be to bank regular game-time at regional level. The Scarlets have another able fly-half in Dan Jones, who can push a side around a field beautifully, so Dwayne Peel will not be able to give Costelow any guarantees.
But Costelow is on an upward curve.
If he continues his progression, he could increasingly come into the Wales picture heading towards the next World Cup.
Maybe even sooner.
Cuthbert's unfinished business in Wales
“In terms of my game, I feel like I can really go to another level.”
That’s a significant statement of intent from a player who’s a Test Lion with 46 Wales caps in the bank.
But the sense is that Alex Cuthbert has unfinished business in Welsh rugby.
Injuries hampered him during his time with Exeter Chiefs, but their director of rugby Rob Baxter rated the 6ft 6in wing highly enough to pick him in the key Gallagher Premiership playoff games last season, with Stuart Hogg the man squeezed from Baxter’s back-three selection.
Rewind further and Cuthbert found himself going through a difficult spell before he left Wales for Exeter, with his form drifting amid much criticism.
But when his confidence is up and he’s fit and firing, he is capable of slicing up the best defences.
Toby Booth will help restore his self-belief.
The rest is up to Cuthbert.
Wales Women's problems come to a head
Wales Women are without a head coach just a year from the World Cup, their players are stretched to the limit and the Welsh Rugby Union is facing something of a PR disaster.
The fact that the external review into the WRU's strategy for Wales Women was due to be concluded by late June and we are yet to hear a diddly squad about what it has found tells us something.
There is a lot to go through.
The mid-term review of the women's performance rugby strategy was announced off the back of the team's last-place finish in this year's Six Nations, which saw all three matches lost (two by wide margins) and increased public calls for better resources and support given to Wales' amateur players - who balance the sport with full-time work or education - with their rivals including professionals and semi-pro players.
An open letter from more than 100 ex-Wales internationals has followed, demanding change. You can see the full letter here.
Former Wales skills coach Rachel Taylor's revealing interview about her "traumatising" exit from the WRU after four months saw the former skipper admit she couldn't put her name to what was going on.
Which rugby fan wouldn't love to be fly on those walls?
Something clearly has to change.
Will we see much talked about contracts finally brought in to ease pressure on players?
What changes will new performance director Nigel Walker introduce?
And who will take on the daunting task of leading Wales into a World Cup in 12 months?
Those issues will come to a head sooner rather than later, let's hope.
Phil Steele is missed on Scrum V
The job of a pitchside interviewer is one of the hardest around.
It may look easy.
But it isn’t, not by a long chalk.
Anyway, Phil Steele is good at it, managing to coax responses out of players while at the same time entertaining his audience.
This week, he put out a tweet announcing his 14-year stint as BBC Scrum V pitchside reporter had ended. With typical generosity, he said it had been “an absolute privilege to have worked with such a brilliant team for so long”.
There’s a fair chance he will be missed.
He brought character and humour to the job and was popular with viewers.
Best of luck to his successor.
Dwayne Peel Scarlets coaching era starts with a bang
The early signs are promising.
Dwayne Peel is back with the Scarlets and they have come up with two impressive pre-season performances.
How much should we read into such matches?
Hard to say, but if we start on the basis that any opposition win at Welford Road is worth something then we have to conclude that the former scrum-half has begun on the right note.
Just maybe the Scarlets are light in a couple of areas up front, especially if injuries take hold.
But they played with their heads up in the second half against both Nottingham and against Leicester Tigers with Peel keen for players to express themselves.
He has made clear the basics have to be in place, so the need for solid defence, accurate passing, intelligent kicking and good decision-making will be priorities.
But there seems a good vibe at the Scarlets this summer.
No one should expect miracles, but supporters may just enjoy the ride.
Pivac's Wales old guard dilemma
There is no obvious sign of any of Welsh rugby’s over-30s brigade calling time on their Test careers any time soon.
Maybe Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric all plan to try to push through to the next World Cup.
The key is not to draw conclusions from what it says on passports.
Always, performances should be key.
New Zealand knew that when they won the 2015 World Cup with a squad that contained 11 players over 30. Six of those never played for the All Blacks again after the triumph.
The point is Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu and Ben Franks were still playing superbly, so they retained their positions.
It's Wayne Pivac's call.
But if Wales do go down a similar road, the challenge for the head coach will be to quietly keep an eye to the long term as well, by identifying possible successors to skipper Jones and Co.
It’s a tricky balancing act to have to pull off.
How Pivac handles it over the next couple of years will be fascinating.