A 17-year old and a 19-year old have been selected for the Welsh Six Nation's squad. Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither Tom Prydie nor Kristian Philips have played a full season of top level rugby.
Wales have a habit of giving debuts to teenagers, as previous examples across the ages demonstrate: Willie Davies (18), Haydn Tanner (18), Keith Jarrett (18), Gareth Edwards (19), Dai Young (19), Scott Gibbs (19), Leigh Halfpenny (19). And that's without thinking too hard. And there are dozens and dozens of examples of players who have made their debuts whilst just out of their teens.
I believe Wales is unusual in this. The only country that I can think of that has a similar track record is Australia (at least according to my entirely non-statistical, sort-of-just-what-it-seems-like analysis). It's certainly a different path to that taken by England, where on the rare occasion a youngster is picked, he's usually dropped soon after rather than backed to learn and improve (Danny Cipriani (20), most recently, and before that Matthew Tait (17)).
I suspect there's something of a cultural reason for this willingness to take a risk on youth. Wales is a small nation with a big and powerful neighbour and it's had to rely on cunning and cheek to keep its end up. In such a culture, crafty - not to say cocky - little buggers are highly valued.
Think of Jack's character in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' (right, in Welsh jersey and cap) - he's a plucky and rather irresponsible lad who lives with his Mam but he still manages to outwit and outrun the Ogre (who claims to smell the blood of an Englishman, but never mind about that).
The Welsh have turned something of a necessity into a prized virtue. They love expressive and crafty play. And for good reason - it's often been very effective. Here's some footage from the classic 1971 Scotland vs Wales match that I enjoy particularly because it contains some wonderful breaks by the legendary Gareth Edwards and the magical Barry John (who "flits like a little phantom" in the commentary, a reminder of the homely eloquence of the late Bill McLaren):
H/t for the video to the excellent Alex Massie.