Like Apple’s iPhone 12, so many Welsh rugby players have been talked about as “the next big thing”.

A number of them go on to deliver on their promise.

But many have found it tough over the years.

We take a look at those players who were once thought of as the future, but so far haven’t made it as some expected they would...

TYLER MORGAN

Six months before the 2015 World Cup, WalesOnline wrote of Morgan: “The jewel in the crown. Superb centre who looks destined for the very top. Regular with the Dragons this year and likely to be in the Welsh midfield for years to come.”

And he did look an outstanding prospect. Playing against the Ospreys at Rodney Parade he triggered a score out of defence with seemingly effortless pace, skill and vision.

But it hasn’t happened for him at Test level yet.

Injuries have battered the five-cap Dragons centre and there have been questions about his durability.

But let’s be positive and say that at 24 Morgan still has time on his side to deliver on his promise.

MATTHEW MORGAN

When the image of Matthew Morgan was once used to sell an age-grade match with the tag-line “Every legend has a beginning”, it seemed only a question of time before the fleet-footed, quick-witted Morgan would take his place in the Wales senior set-up.

Shane Williams once said Wales would sometimes call up Morgan when they needed a defensive work-out, so elusive was the Brynteg Comprehensive School product.

But the ex-Osprey hasn’t played for Wales since 2015, when he won his fifth cap.

Matthew Morgan tries to break through the Fiji defence for Wales at the 2015 World Cup

Warren Gatland seemed concerned about his ability to properly assess degrees of risk — trying to run out of his own 22 with a number of Fijians barring his way at the World Cup four years ago didn’t do much for the then Wales coach’ nerves — and Morgan can miss tackles.

He has been exceptional for Cardiff Blues this season, though.

STEFF HUGHES

He’s a former Wales U20s captain and he has a lot of talent.

A year out of the game with a serious knee injury left him playing catch-up.

And the presence of centres of the calibre of Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes and Kieron Fonotia at the Scarlets hasn’t always made it easy for him to secure regular regional rugby.

The good news is that Hughes has been doing his fair share of catching up this season, with the classy 25-year-old from Llanelli engaging his best form.

DAN BAKER

He’s had a shocker with injuries, or one particular injury if we are being precise, the knee problem that cost him 699 days on the sidelines. He gamely make a return earlier in the campaign, only to hit more injury problems.

It’s a shame because he has expertise as a ball-carrier.

JACK DIXON

The Dragons centre is rock-solid in defence and hard to shift when he locks over the ball. A career-threatening kidney issue checked his progress for a lengthy period and since then he has been looking to put his name into the reckoning. Does he need a few more extras in his game? Whatever, the basics of his game, his carrying and tackling, are ultra-reliable.

RORY THORNTON

He’s 6ft 7in and a high-quality lineout player. Rewind the clock a few years and he was being seen as potentially the next Alun Wyn Jones.

Well, let’s assume there is only one Alun Wyn Jones and be done with it.

Injuries have halted Thornton’s climb to the top, but with a new Wales coaching regime the Cardiff Blue isn’t without hope.

KEELAN GILES

At 21, Giles potentially has a decade in front of him and could still prove the future for Wales — of course he could. But two major knee setbacks have slowed the shooting star of three years ago.  He desperately needs Lady Luck to throw him a smile or two. Whatever, he remains a huge talent.

TOM PRYDIE

When you make your Wales debut at 18 years and 25 days, in the process setting a new national record, it’s fair to expect a degree of  expectation.

Maybe the experience of going from A to Z so quickly wasn’t necessarily the best for Prydie. Perhaps it caused him to jump a 20 or so development stages.

He still has that calmness about him on the pitch that he has always had, but he’ll blow out 28 candles on his next birthday cake and will do exceptionally well to make it back into the Test set up.

HARRISON KEDDIE

The key forward when Wales U20s won their Grand Slam in 2016 with his powerful ball-carrying offering his team serious go-forward.

The challenge for him was to repeat the trick in senior rugby. It’s not an easy ask.

Injuries haven’t helped and he is still maturing.

Possibly, he could yet make it into Wales’ plans. He very definitely could turn out to be an exceptional player.

Still all to play for, then.

SEB DAVIES

A former Wales forward only this week privately reckoned Davies to be potentially the most athletic and talented tight-five forward in the country.

Potential counts for only so much, though.

The case for the defence is that Wales haven’t given Davies a fair chance, forcing him to play out of position.

There’s a new regime now, though, and it’s up to the 6ft 6in Cardiff Blue to impress Wayne Pivac.

NICKY THOMAS

This guy was the mainstay of the Wales scrum as they reached the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2013. Thomas bulldozed his way forward, causing problems to several sides.

But it hasn’t truly happened in a big way for him at senior level.

Earlier in his career there were questions about his conditioning, and he has been unable to make the expected breakthrough. If he is going to do it — and his promise in age-grade rugby was exceptional — the 25-year-old needs to get a move on. Currently at Bristol Bears. 

HARRY ROBINSON

Harry Robinson celebrates scoring for his country
Harry Robinson celebrates scoring for his country

After Shane Williams bowed out, he said: “Watch Harry Robinson — he’s going to be some player.” The Cardiff-born wing won three caps, only for a neck injury to put paid to his career when he was just 23. Now working as a financial consultant.

JORDAN WILLIAMS

His tale is well-documented — from Sean Fitzpatrick seeing him on TV at the U20s World Championship and walking into a studio shouting “Christian Cullen!” to a few outings for the Scarlets and then on to Bristol and then back to Wales at the Dragons.

Like Matthew Morgan, he remains an astonishingly gifted runner.

Like Morgan, he has occasionally had questions asked about his defence.

But when he starts motoring with ball in hand, he’s a joy to watch.

DAFYDD HOWELLS

Dafydd Howells scores a try for Neath against Cardiff at the outset of his career

Howells had just turned 18 when he won his first Wales cap.

Another followed a week later.

But since then, nothing.

He is quick, skilful and has a good kicking game, but injuries seem to follow him around and they have hampered his attempts to push on.

Now at the Dragons, he is expected to be out for the rest of the season with an arm injury.

The rugby gods can be cruel at times.

RHODRI WILLIAMS

There is surely still hope for the talented west Walian.

Scrum-half when Wales U20s reached that World Rugby U20 Championship final in 2013, he and Sam Davies were the brains of the side, the pair of them directing play superbly. Wales picked Williams soon after but his time in the sun lasted for only three games before they turned their attention elsewhere.

He is 26 and pretty much in his prime.

Wales ought to keep an eye on him.

RHUN WILLIAMS

He was the full-back in the 2016 Grand Slam team and with his ground-eating running from deep he had ‘future Wales international’ written all over him. Cardiff Blues boss John Mulvhill reckoned the other players and coaches at the region felt Williams had the ability to “play at least 50 Tests for Wales”.

But he hasn’t played for 22 months before of serious shoulder problem that’s threatening his career.

THOMAS YOUNG

At one point the bandwagon for this chap to feature for Wales seemed in dangers of collapsing, so many people having boarded it.

Some are adamant even now that the openside flanker deserves a place in the set-up.

His misfortune has been to play in a position where Wales have such strength in depth.

Maybe playing in England doesn’t help, either.

Faces a big call at the end of the season when he has to decide whether to remain at Wasps or return home. If he stays put, he will be captured by the WRU’s 60-cap rule on exiled players.

GARETH OWEN

When he was at the Ospreys as a youngster, he was rated highly enough for some to see him as the next Gavin Henson.

But a professional rugby player never knows what’s around the corner, and serious injuries soon ganged up on Owen.

An enjoyable spell at the Scarlets preceded a stint in Leicester, where he was thought highly of, and Owen is now at Newcastle Falcons.

KRISTIAN PHILLIPS

Kristian Phillips specialised in scoring memorable tries

As a schoolboy player, he was quite devastating, scoring tries and shredding defences for fun. After he touched down five times against Dulwich College for Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, the London public school tried to lure him there — an approach for which they later apologised to Ystalyfera.

Phillips played for the Ospreys, Scarlets, Bath and has worn London Welsh colours.

His Wales cap didn’t come, however, despite a squad call to give him experience early in his career.

OWEN WILLIAMS

Barely two years ago, he appeared to be the coming man, appearing against Australia and New Zealand in the 2017 autumn series. 

Then Wales stopping capping him.

Playing in England hasn't helped him, leaving him unavailable for every training session and game.

But that the fly-half or centre has talent isn't in doubt.

He'll have a decision to make on his future when he comes out of contract with Gloucester at the end of the season.

Re-sign and he'll likely be unavailable to Wales under the 60-cap rule for exiled players.