Speaking of headaches in Welsh rugby, a halfway situation in the Six Nations isn’t exactly one where people immediately turn to paracetamol.

There are certainly more important things to do, but the 10-foot jersey is something Warren Gatland will be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks. Without veteran Dan Biggar following his international retirement, and Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Patchell having moved abroad, changes are likely to occur at Wales’ most respected position.

Sam Costelow, fitness permitting, is seen as Biggar’s long-term successor, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Many words have been said or printed about options. Get the latest Welsh rugby news straight to your inbox for free with our daily newsletter

After the game against the Barbarians after the World Cup, Gatland admitted that options needed to be developed. Bristol’s Callum Sheedy was nominated, as were Dragons’ Will Reid and Cardiff’s Ben Thomas.

Since that weekend, Ioan Lloyd has put in a stellar performance in the Scarlets’ number 10 shirt in Costelow’s absence – he has been a force to be reckoned with. Then there is, of course, Owen Williams, the Ospreys midfielder who brought Gatland back into the Test squad at the start of the year before missing out on World Cup selection.

One name not mentioned is Jarrod Evans. Along with Anscombe, Patchell and Sam Davies, the former Cardiff player was considered a further loss to Gatland after leaving Wales at the end of last season.

However, it has now emerged that as Evans did not receive a secure offer before leaving for Harlequins, he is eligible for selection as Evans was one of 12 players who Cardiff said was the maximum they could offer in the end. from last season. It was £30,000.

Thus, the fly half debate finds another way to develop. The next question is what are Evans’ chances of reaching the Six Nations? Just because you might be chosen doesn’t mean you necessarily will be. Of course, the fact that there is an explanation for his situation suggests that he is at least part of it.

But since making his Wales debut four years ago, games have been few and far between for the talented playmaker. True, he competed with Biggar, Sheedy, Anscombe and others, but Evans only won eight matches.

On his debut, Evans’ confidence in training clearly impressed Gatland. “He mentioned it was time to be here as he had played alongside Gareth Anscombe for the last two years,” Gatland said in 2019, but other opportunities beyond that initial limit were limited.

It is clear that the image of the fly half has changed significantly. Optically, a player who didn’t show much during his time in Wales and then won the Player of the Month award after going elsewhere isn’t a player who plays well in the gallery, but that’s not what’s happening here .

Evans, like many options, is now on the board because others have moved on. Even if Evans returns to wrestling, there’s a good chance he hasn’t done enough at this point.

After joining Queens, Evans started three of his first four matches for England, winning each of them wearing the number 10 shirt. However, he has since sat on the bench behind England midfielder Marcus Smith during the next six games.

In these special appearances, he averages 12 minutes per game. He’s certainly been impressed by The Stoop, only in limited doses since Smith returned from the World Cup. He is highly regarded there, and former Cardiff manager Danny Wilson, now Queens’ training co-ordinator, praised him recently.

“I like that Jarrod and Marcus have a lot of similarities in the way they play, which is important,” Wilson said. “What you don’t want is for one of the 10 to be unavailable and the other to come in and play differently, then you change the DNA of the team.

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“Both Jarrod and Marcus fit the Queens model. “I think he’s a great recruit.”

While Evans and Smith share similar traits, they are certainly not the same player. But the fact that Gatland has been so expansive in his praise for Smith recently is at least interesting, given the similarities between the Harlequin duo. Before the World Cup, Gatland used his Telegraph column to say that if Smith had been Welsh, he would have picked him a year or two before Eddie Jones initially refused to play him for England.

Now, this is probably a bit mischievous on Gatland’s part – England is caught up in the middle of the debate in the national media and Jones is coaching Australia at the World Cup in Wales – but Gatland made another interesting point.

“Despite what some people think, I am generally not vocal in my choices, in fact I take risks,” he wrote in the column. “You don’t always get it right. “Sometimes you root for a player and it doesn’t work out, but I think one of my skills as a head coach was being able to pick really good teams.”

Gatland always chose a side based on the tools at his disposal. When he had Shane Williams, he used a structured approach that allowed the winger to thrive in both planned and off-season situations. When he had multiple defenders, he played the style of play that would ultimately define him when he was nicknamed “Warrenball.”

Now perhaps the options available to him as an opener are largely riskier and more casual. Costelow, despite being a tenacious and courageous player, certainly is. Lloyd too. If Evans is in the picture, as his easy availability suggests, perhaps that is the direction Gatland believes he will go.

It is worth remembering that Anscombe should be available for the summer tour of Australia. Based on what Gatland has said about Smith, it would be a stretch to say he should definitely go with Evans, whom he first debuted in 2019, simply because of the similarities.

But he is clearly in the photo. We won’t have to wait long to find out where he fits in the lineup.