IT wasn’t just the way that Lewis Ludlam played against Wales that impressed at Twickenham, it was the way that he did it.

It wasn’t entirely down to the 80 minutes in London but the Northampton flanker’s approach caught the eye and led to a shock call-up to England’s World Cup squad.

Had it not been for Brad Shields’ foot injury or Sam Underhill’s knee problem then Ludlam would probably have been heading back for duty with the Saints, and in truth he wouldn’t have been too upset at that given he started last season worrying about his Franklin’s Gardens future.

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Ludlam is a proper bolter after making the most of a surprise opening.

It is highly unlikely that the same will happen when Warren Gatland names his chosen 31 on Sunday, September 1.

Of the 40 players that are in the mix – barring any very late call-ups because of injury – only Saracens-bound loosehead Rhys Carre and Cardiff Blues winger Owen Lane are uncapped.

Of the 38 others only six – Dragons tighthead Leon Brown (5), hooker Ryan Elias (7), flanker James Davies (4), scrum-half Tomos Williams (7), fly-half Jarrod Evans (2) and wing/full-back Jonah Holmes (2) – have not hit double figures for Test outings.

Nobody can really complain about a lack of chances; everybody has had the chance to catch Gatland’s eye, at least in training if not the England double-header.

To their credit, the Wales management have not left it to the last moment to give someone a crack.

They have known for quite some time the size of the group from which they are selecting, arguably aided by a smaller playing pool than the English.

Last October over 60 players were invited to the Vale Resort for a presentation about what lay ahead in the build-up to Japan.

That wider group has been whittled away and the coaching staff have held their nerve.

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Injury might have changed their policy – and that remains a possibility until the flight to Japan is boarded – but Gatland signalled his intent with the naming of an initial 42-strong training squad.

Coaching hours are precious and Wales did not want to waste them on fringe players who were always unlikely to make the final cut.

There are those of us that would have loved Dragons back row forward Ollie Griffiths to be in the mix but after being overlooked since winning his solitary cap, scandalously getting under two minutes against Tonga in the summer of 2017, his odds of making the plane would have been longer than those of Uruguay lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Decisions were made early and, after Taulupe Faletau and Gareth Anscombe’s injury misery, there are only nine players that will receive bad news.

There is not one individual currently enduring pre-season with their region that can justifiably grumble that they didn’t get a crack.

If they haven’t been called up then they just didn’t quite play well enough at the tail-end of last season to force their way into a successful Grand Slam-winning squad that was on a long winning run.

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It is through good planning that Wales have no bolters, a tag that can no longer be applied to Dragons flanker Aaron Wainwright even if his rise has been rapid and remarkable.

Gatland and forwards coach Robin McBryde saw something in the workaholic back row forward when he had forced his way into the XV at Rodney Parade.

They blooded him in Argentina last summer, brought him in for a first autumn campaign and then called on him in all five of the Grand Slam games.

Wainwright was mightily impressive in the England double-header and is now pushing for a place in Wales’ starting back row, let alone competing for a place in the World Cup squad.

The 21-year-old from Bassaleg is still a Test novice but the speed, intensity, physicality and pressure is no longer such a shock. That is a position England would love to be in with Ludlam.

With hindsight after Anscombe’s misfortune, ideally Wales would have done similar with Jarrod Evans but the opportunity didn’t present itself in the Six Nations while it is a sign of the riches in the back three that Lane is yet to get a taste of international rugby.

If he does get that opportunity on Saturday, August 31 against Ireland then it could well be at the expense of Hallam Amos, who has been a victim of ill-timed injury and then Josh Adams grasping his chance.

But the majority of Wales’ 40 that are currently in Turkey are regulars in the international squads and everybody has had a chance to impress the management, who place great importance on their training regime.

The opportunity to stake a claim for a World Cup spot doesn’t necessarily come in the last few weeks when the deadline is looming.

For Dragons tighthead Leon Brown, whose hopes depend on Samson Lee's fitness, it was in the autumn Tests against Georgia in 2017 and Tonga last year.

For Scarlets winger Steff Evans, who has slid down the pecking order, it was a run of games in 2017/18.

For fly-half Rhys Patchell it was the 2018 Six Nations and Argentina tour.

The unlucky ones on Sunday, September 1 may not like the decision to leave them in Wales rather than book them up for Japan, but they won't be able to say they didn't get a fair shot.