English-based Welsh players have been very much in the news of late with no fewer than nine of them named in Wayne Pivac’s Six Nations squad.

And, beyond that contingent, there are close on 100 Welsh-qualified professionals plying their trade across the bridge.

There is now a clear policy of looking to target that group with a view to repatriating both star turns and young talents.

Having Wales squad players on board has become financially beneficial for the regions as the more members of the elite 38 they have on your books the more funding they receive. You can find out more on that here.

So there is a real incentive to recruiting both established stars and future ones who are currently based outside of the country.

You’ve already seen the Ospreys sign up Toulon scrum-half Rhys Webb for next season, while Liam Williams will be rejoining the Scarlets from Saracens.

From the players’ perspective, there’s also the 60-cap rule to consider and the knowledge they will need to head for Wales when their current contracts expire if they want to continue playing Test rugby.

So who will be next on the hit list among the exiles? What’s the contractual situation of the prime targets and which regions might they join?

Rugby correspondent Simon Thomas casts his eye over Wales’ English hit list.

Owen Williams

The Gloucester utility back is out of contract at the end of this season and facing a big decision.

If he wants to play for Wales beyond that point, he will have to join one of the four regions as he only has the three caps - a long, long way short of the 60-cap threshold.

The former Scarlets playmaker has been on a lucrative deal at Kingsholm, so would have to take a cut in his basic pay if he did return to Wales.

But he would have the potential to earn upwards of £150,000 in Test fees, which he wouldn’t be able to do if he stayed in England.

He would certainly be attractive to a number of the regions with his ability to provide quality from both 10 and 12.

And, funding-wise, he’s all the more of a prize target now that he is back in the Wales squad, having recovered from the knee injury which kept him sidelined for nine months.

Gloucester pair Owen Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit arrive at Wales training this week

Rhys Carre

The situation at Saracens creates the possibility of Carre returning to Wales sooner rather than later.

When he decided to leave Cardiff Blues last year, he signed a deal committing him to the European champions through to 2021.

But with Sarries being relegated to the Championship at the end of this season over persistent salary cap breaches, everything is a bit up in the air.

Their director of rugby Mark McCall has said the squad will be broken up on demotion, so it remains to be seen who will be leaving.

If Wales World Cup prop Carre does become available early, then the Blues will definitely be out to get him back to the Arms Park.

Sam Costelow

The word is the gifted Wales U20s fly-half is a target for the Scarlets.

A product of Pencoed, he left home to study at Oakham School, in Rutland, and linked up with Leicester as a result.

Having helped the Tigers to two Premiership Academy titles, he has gained Championship experience out on loan to Paul Turner’s Ampthill this season.

Now back at Leicester, the 19-year-old has featured in two of their Challenge Cup fixtures, coming off the bench against Pau at the weekend.

A naturally talented footballer, he has been named in the Wales U20s squad for the forthcoming Six Nations.

Taulupe Faletau

The Wales and Lions No. 8 has been at Bath since leaving the Dragons in 2016, but will be out of contract next year.

It’s a far bet that he will have a long line of suitors eager to secure his signature.

He wouldn’t have to return to Wales to stay on the international stage as he is over the 60-cap mark.

But might he opt to join a region from a player-welfare point of view, particularly given the injury issues he has had in recent years?

If so, the Welsh regions will be queuing up to sign him.

Thomas Young

The 27-year-old Wasps flanker is out of contract this summer and he’s another player with a big decision to make, as his dad and club coach Dai has confirmed.

Under the WRU selection policy, to have a chance of adding to his three Welsh caps he would have to return home, some six years on from being released by Cardiff Blues.

His tackle count, his work over the ball and his pace over the ground would make him an asset for any of the regions.

But given he has been largely overlooked by Wales over the past few years and also taking into account the huge competition for back row places at Test level, might he decide to stay where he is?

Nick Tompkins

A man who has been very much in the news of late following his call-up to Wayne Pivac’s Wales Six Nations squad .

You would expect him to be capped in the coming weeks, given the issues in the centre, and once that happens he will have to move to a region when he signs his next deal to continue as a Test player.

He’s contracted with Saracens until 2022, but, again, it’s unclear what’s going to happen with their squad when they head into the Championship.

The Dragons and the Ospreys, in particular, would certainly benefit from his footwork, angles of running and all-round midfield efficiency.

Sam Moore

Sam Moore on a rare outing for Sale against Lyon

The Cardiff-born Sale No. 8 has disappeared from view a bit since he was headline news a couple of years ago.

Back then, there was lots of talk of him being the subject of a tug-of-war between Wales and England.

But he’s been hampered by injuries over the last year or so and has limited opportunities to show what he can do, with just eight outings for his club to date and only one this season.

He’s contracted to Sale until 2022, but if he became available before then, you would definitely have regional interest in this dynamic 21-year-old whose father Steve and uncle Andy both played in the second row for Wales.

WillGriff John

It was way back in January 2011 that the Rhondda-raised prop had his solitary outing for Cardiff Blues - 18 minutes against the Ospreys to be precise.

How they, and other regions, would love to have his services now and there’s no doubt there will be a scramble to get him on board when he comes out of contract at Sale next year.

Quality tight-heads don’t grow on trees and John has established himself as one of the most solid citizens in the Premiership having worked his way back via spells in New Zealand and with Doncaster after leaving the Arms Park.

Louis Rees-Zammit

It was a very astute move by Gloucester to sign the try-hungry teenager up on a long-term deal ahead of him earning his first cap.

As a result, he will be able to play for Wales for the duration of that new contract.

He was originally tied up to 2022 on an Academy package. His recently signed first senior deal has been termed an extension, so you would imagine he’s now committed to Kingsholm to around 2024.

So the regions will have to wait a fair while before making a move for the Cardiffian.

Will Rowlands

The big bolter in Wales’ Six Nations squad.

Given the glowing terms in which Wayne Pivac has spoken about the physical, athletic Wasps second row, you would expect him to get a chance at some point during the Championship.

That would then leave him needing to head for the land of his Pontllanfraith-born father when he comes out of contract next year.

Cardiff Blues, in particular, are likely to have eyes on him, given their much-mentioned ambition to strengthen their lock department.

Tomas Francis

The Exeter prop’s contractual situation has been something of a baffling affair, with a succession of rollover deals allowing him to stay at the club yet still play for Wales.

When he does eventually become available, he would be a prime target for the regions.

But, by then, he might well have reached the magic 60-cap mark, as he is already on 48, so could stay on in England.

Jonah Holmes

The Leicester wing/full-back had become something of a forgotten man after missing out on the final World Cup squad and then being sidelined with knee ligament damage.

But now he’s back to fitness and back in the Wales squad for the Six Nations.

As such, he will come very much on to the radar when his Tigers contract comes to an end, at which point he would have a decision to make, given the 60-cap rule.

English-based players Will Rowlands and Jonah Holmes head for Wales training alongside Ken Owens

Tommy Reffell

Another Leicester player, the former Wales U20s skipper has been getting a fair bit of rugby in the Tigers back row this season.

Like his club colleague Costelow, he hails from Pencoed.

He would only have to head back to Wales if he wins a full cap and there is such competition on the flank that he has his work cut out on that front.

But, at 20, he has time on his side and his abrasive commitment would make him a valuable regional recruit at some point in the future.

Ioan Lloyd

The fact Lloyd was handed a four-year deal by Bristol at the age of just 17 shows how highly rated he is by the west country club.

That potential was demonstrated this season with a couple of try-scoring cameos off the bench in the Premiership and Europe.

With the ability to shine at both fly-half and full-back, the teenage Cardiffian will be one the regions will keep on monitoring over the coming seasons.

Rhys Davies

The Swansea-born second row has already represented Wales at U18s and U20s and is now starting to make his mark at club level with Bath.

At 6ft 6ins and 17st 13lbs, he has the raw physical ingredients and his performance against Harlequins the other week shows he’s someone who knows how to use his frame to good effect.

Welsh players of his size and ability aren’t commonplace, so he’s one to watch out for.

Luke Scully

One of three English-based fly-halves in the Wales U20s squad for the forthcoming Six Nations, alongside Costelow and Lloyd.

He studied at Neath Port Talbot College and came through the Ospreys age group, but joined Worcester in 2018.

A controlling pivot in the mould of Dan Biggar with a good kicking game, both out of hand and at the sticks, he can also slot in at inside centre.

Max Clark

The Bridgend-born centre turned down a Wales tour call-up in the summer of 2017 to keep alive his chances of playing Test rugby for England, who he has represented at U16, U17, U18 and U20s levels. Signed a new contract at the Rec just under a year ago.

Bath centre Max Clark

Dan John

The son of former Pontypridd scrum-half Paul , full-back Dan impressed for Wales U19s against Scotland last month and has now been included in the U20s squad for the Six Nations.

In his last year at Millfield School, he is not tied to an English club, with securing a place at university his next target.

Mat Protheroe

Born in Swansea, the free-running back-three man represented England at U18s and U20s level after attending Hartpury College. Linked up with Gloucester before joining his current club Bristol , where he has proved a valuable first-team squad member.

Sean Lonsdale

Went to school in Colwyn Bay and caught the eye at lock for RGC before making the move to Exeter in 2016. Figures mainly in the back row for the Chiefs.

Nick English

The tight-head prop from Caldicot went to the World Junior Championship in Argentina with Wales U20s last summer. On the books at Bristol.

George Nott

The 24-year-old lock, who joined London Irish from Sale last year, has represented England at U18s and U20s, but was born in Llandudno and is not tied to the Red Rose.