What Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad currently looks like as brutal decisions and huge potential omissions emerge

Warren Gatland has made no secret that he sees this trip to the Americas as a means of pencilling in more names into his World Cup squad.

And in the wake of Wales’ 22-20 victory over South Africa in Washington last Saturday, the New Zealander was adamant that a few players have pressed their case.

“We were pretty straight up with these guys and they’re all aware of what we’ve been trying to do in the last 18 months and that’s to really develop some depth and some competition in certain positions,” he said following the gutsy triumph at the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

“There are 10 or 11 players who aren’t here who, if their form is good enough, agen piala dunia they’re probably going to make the World Cup squad. But the biggest thing that I want is for guys to be under pressure.

“Hopefully, there’s a few of those 10 or 11 players sitting at home at the moment watching Wales, but also realising that there are a couple of players that have played exceptionally well and have won.”

For the World Cup in 2015, Gatland named a squad of 31 players, opting for a split of 17 forwards and 14 backs.

Surprisingly, he picked just two hookers, two fly-halves and only five back-rowers, which considering the rich seam of talent in that area at the moment, gives him and his management team a huge selection headache.

Taking into account that everyone is fit, here we look at where Gatland’s World Cup squad stands less than 16 months out from the opening match in Japan.

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Back three 6 players likely to be selected

Nailed on: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Liam Williams

Strong contenders: Steff Evans, Hallam Amos, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell

Outside chance: Josh Adams, Owen Lane, Keelan Giles, Tom Prydie, Ashton Hewitt

George North of Wales is tackled by Jesse Kriel of South Africa Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency

The fact that Halfpenny and Williams have been given the summer off suggests their places are secure and you can’t imagine Gatland not taking North.

Evans and Amos lead the pack out wide, while Anscombe and Patchell can also provide full-back cover.

Don’t rule out the likes of rising talents Owen Lane and Keelan Giles recovering from their injury issues to make a late surge.

Centres 3

Nailed on: Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Scott Williams

Strong contenders: Owen Watkin

Outside chance: Owen Williams, Tyler Morgan, Jamie Roberts, Cory Allen.

Jonathan Davies

Gatland only named three centres for the last World Cup and if he does the same it is hard to look past Lions man of the series Davies — who is set to be fit for the start of next season — Scarlets team-mate Parkes and Ospreys-bound Scott Williams.

Owen Watkin knows his opportunities may be limited, while Tyler Morgan needs to hit the ground running after his injury issues.

Gloucester’s Owen Williams has fallen down the pecking order since last autumn. As for Jamie Roberts, who is heading from Harlequins to Bath in the summer, well you never know.