When Taine Plumtree signed for the Scarlets last summer and was immediately parachuted into Wales' Rugby World Cup training squad, it's safe to say it split opinion.

Plumtree had yet to play a game on Welsh soil, while he had only made a handful of appearances for the Auckland-based Blues in Super Rugby, with the majority of his rugby coming for Wellington Lions in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship. But both the Scarlets and Warren Gatland had seen something in Plumtree which screamed international potential.

The 24-year-old made an impressive cameo off the bench on his Test debut as Wales beat England in a World Cup warm-up in Cardiff before an error-strewn performance in the reverse fixture at Twickenham a week later, although he later revealed his shoulder had popped out twice during his time on the pitch. Plumtree missed out on Wales' final World Cup squad, with Gatland opting for Christ Tshiunza as the hybrid lock/backrower in his place.

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After originally deciding not to have surgery on his shoulder, Plumtree injured it against the Lions last November for the Scarlets after a promising start to his career down west and he has not played since. In a Q&A session with supporters last Tuesday, which WalesOnline attended, Scarlets boss Dwayne Peel revealed Plumtree's return was imminent, possibly even for this Saturday's trip to Edinburgh.

With Wales' World Cup co-captains Dewi Lake and Jac Morgan also returning for the Ospreys and Tshiunza having recently made a comeback for Exeter Chiefs, these positive fitness updates will come as music to Gatland's ears. But Plumtree is the intriguing one. When Gatland invited Plumtree to Wales' World Cup training camp in Switzerland he said: "He's a 6ft 5in back-row forward, we don't have a lot of those here in Wales", while the general consensus is the Scarlets man has a high ceiling.

The return of Plumtree, along with Tshiunza, who is even taller at 6ft 6in, has the potential to add a different dimension to the Wales pack in Australia this summer. During a bitterly disappointing Six Nations campaign, one of Wales' biggest Achilles heels was a lack of size and ball-carrying clout in the back.

Neither Plumtree or Tshiunza are explosive carriers in the mould of Harlequins' England blindside Chandler Cunningham-South but they are capable of improving matters in that regard. To start with both are extremely versatile players who can cover lock and the entire back-row.

Both are outstanding lineout forwards, which is another area Wales struggled in over the course of the Six Nations. Tshiunza has already spoken of how during his recovery from a foot injury he has consciously put on a stone in order to make himself a viable option in the second-row at Test level.

Those who have played with Plumtree point to his rugby intelligence as his major point of difference. Swansea-born Plumtree is a typical Kiwi loose-forward in the sense he can mix athleticism with raw power.

Plumtree has an excellent skillset and is comfortable both in the tight and in the wider channels. He has a high work rate, while his skillset is very good.

Plumtree remains a raw talent but he is somebody who could potentially bring a different dimension to the Wales back-row. His challenge will make be impacting games of rugby which aren't played on his terms and whether he can make as much of an impact when the game is tighter with less space to showcase his athletic ability in the wide channels.

He will of course need to prove himself for the Scarlets first but given Gatland already has an eye on the next World Cup it wouldn't be a surprise if Plumtree figured heavily this summer. The Wales pack should be a bit stronger than it was during the Six Nations with Lake and Morgan potentially adding some class along with ball-carrying clout, while experienced tighthead Tomas Francis might return to anchor the scrum.