Not that long ago, the South Wales Guardian felt able to run a headline informing its readers: “Tycroes’ Harry Randall named in Rugby World’s Team of the Term.”
A few months later, the little scrum-half had decamped to Gloucester, with England subsequently laying claim to his services.
Tycroes’ Harry Randall no more.
That after being brought up in west Wales, being educated at Llandovery College and representing Wales at age-grade level.
What to make of it all?
Over to Randall a year or so after heading back across the Bridge: “I had a great time in Wales and especially at Llandovery where they helped me develop a lot. But I’m English, so I don’t feel like a traitor for moving back to England.”
Fair enough. He may have learned his rugby initially at Tycroes and he may have blossomed at Llandovery College, but his parents are English and he was born there.
That’s not the end of the story, however.
A squint at World Rugby regulation eight suggests that Randall has a dual qualification on the basis of having spent 10 years of cumulative residence in Wales — he moved to Tycroes with his family when he was four. So, it’s not inconceivable that there could be an Anglo-Welsh battle for his services in the coming weeks.
The assumption is if Wales want him they would have already checked out whether he is actually interested in being part of their plans.
If he’s not, then that’s pretty much that for Wayne Pivac in terms of adding the youngster to his roster. He will be England’s, and there’ll be nothing Pivac or anyone else can do about it.
But it’s not obvious that he has made a definitive call yet.
He is any better than the scrum-halves currently available to Wales?
Well, he has always been small.
Indeed, when he initially pitched up in Gloucester, some could have been forgiven for wondering if he was arriving in instalments.
But the kid can play, looking exceptionally quick and eager playing for Bristol Bears in their European Challenge Cup semi-final against Bordeaux-Begles last Friday evening.
There was an urgency about him that the home team needed as they tried to stretch the French.
In 54 minutes, he flicked out 70 passes.
His 16 runs yielded 81 metres for his side and included two clean breaks. There was also a try assist on a night when Randall couldn’t have been far off the man-of-the-match award, with his authority at the base of the scrum glaringly obvious.
What’s also exciting for the country that does land him is that he is young.
He may appear blessed with the know-how of a seasoned campaigner, but he is only 22, with his best years stretching out in front of him.
If he did pledge his future to Wales, he’d be taking a risk, mind, with Gareth Davies, Rhys Webb and Tomos Williams all in contention for Lions spots next summer.
Williams may be off limits with an injury, but he isn’t going to be absent for ever and when he’s fit the expectation is he’ll be there or thereabouts for a Test place once again.
Wales also have other No. 9 talents at their disposal in Kieran Hardy and Rhodri Williams.
And a number of those who viewed the behind-closed-doors Scarlets v Ospreys friendly last Friday came away singing the praises of young Harri Morgan. “He looked good — really sharp,” one watcher told this writer.
If Morgan is developed at the right pace, and has luck with injuries, how good could he become?
Undoubtedly, Randall would add to Pivac’s options at a time when Williams is sidelined. And the best players never shy away from competition for places.
But it would still be a mild surprise if the youngster who made a conscious decision to return to England four years ago suddenly decided his loyalty was to Wales after all.
The odds, then, are likely to be on his committing to the land of his birth rather than to the country that played such an important part in his development.
But nothing’s definite until he’s asked the question and has come up with his answer.
Right now, both Eddie Jones and Wayne Pivac are likely to be wondering whether to make such a call.