Ex-Lions England scrum-half Nigel Melville once went on a scouting mission to Worcester to assess a young English prop but came back singing the praises of a Welsh fly-half.
That was James Hook in 2006, playing for Wales U21s against England U21s.
Two months later the same player was making his senior Wales debut. The following season he was guiding Wales to victory over England in the Six Nations, contributing 22 points.
Sometimes, such stuff happens.
A scouting mission can end up changing tack and the focus can drift to someone else.
Presumably, at Rodney Parade on Sunday, with the Dragons hosting the Ospreys, Wayne Pivac and Stephen Jones would have had wanted to first and foremost run the rule over the Grand Slam controller from 2019, Gareth Anscombe, amid what’s increasingly being styled as a Wales fly-half crisis, with two No. 10s definitely unavailable and three more on the injured list.
But in the first half it was an outside half who hasn’t featured in the national team for more than 50 months, Sam Davies, who caught the eye.
Davies kicked sweetly and accurately out of hand; he set up a try for Josh Lewis with a cleverly manufactured dink behind the defence; he calmly dropped a goal when there was nothing else on.
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Making his first proper appearance in more than two years after a major knee injury Anscombe was steady.
Will Rowlands tested his appetite for defence by powering through him early in the game, then Lewis evaded another tackle attempt.
But Anscombe is nothing if not self-assured and he gradually put a stamp on the game, as if knowing he would come good.
His kicks became increasingly telling and accurate, with the 27-cap player bold enough to go for the flag from penalties and secure good attacking positions. From one of those efforts, the visitors set in place the platform for the impressive Wales-qualified centre Michael Collins to cut back against the grain and score the first of his two tries.
But it was in the second half where Anscombe really started bossing matters.
He continued to drill penalties to the corner and showed his awareness and skills as an occasional full-back by positioning well in backfield and comfortably taking high balls, on one occasion collecting and instantly freeing Dan Evans despite the attentions of Davies.
His passing was slick and sharp, allowing team-mates to run onto the ball.
Both 10s nailed their goalkicks, not all of them straightforward affairs.
But it was the visiting one who was to exert the decisive influence on the match.
By the hour mark he was surfing a wave of confidence, no better illustrated than by the way he set up a try for Luke Morgan.
Passing to Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, the former Blues, Chiefs and Cardiff player stayed in support and accepted a return ball from the young centre, who had done well to make a half-break.
Anscombe then stepped on the gas, making 20 metres before stepping off his right foot and sending out a one-handed pass to Morgan, whose pace did the rest.
It was all more than a bit impressive as the Ospreys ran out 27-23 winners.
Throughout, Anscombe showed patience. Barry John once likened the best fly-halves to top-quality batsmen in cricket. They don’t attempt to slog every ball out of the ground. Instead, they wait for the bad delivery and then go after it. Similarly, the accomplished rugby No. 10 bides his time and waits for the right opportunity.
There was much for Pivac to be encouraged by, then.
The sight of Anscombe leaving the field on 70 minutes would have prompted the Wales coach to hope there were no problems injury-wise, though none were immediately obvious.
Minus Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy because the game with New Zealand on October 30 is being played outside the Test window, and with Jarrod Evans, Rhys Patchell and Rhys Priestland all nursing knocks, Pivac will not feel his fly-half concerns have completely vanished just yet.
There will still be anxieties about whether Anscombe is ready to face the All Blacks so soon after returning from long-term injury.
But he looked the part against the Dragons.
Class is permanent and he has it.
Davies, too, had his moments.
At one point Pivac was even captured on screen laughing and joking with his fellow coaches.
Collins’ display would have helped on that count, alongside Watkin, while the Ospreys back row were into everything, with Jac Morgan putting in a big tackling display, Will Griffiths not far behind and Morgan Morris carrying with purpose, good over the ball and missing nothing in defence.
But Pivac would have been most encouraged by what he saw from the man in the white No. 10 shirt.
Just maybe, sleep may have come a tad easier to the head coach on Sunday evening.
“He’s put in a great shift,” said Shane Williams in TV commentary. “He’s really been involved, he’s been tackling, he’s been taking some big hits — Ross Moriarty’s been after him all game — and he’s been landing his goalkicks.
“It’s been good to see.”
No arguments there.
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