Wales's all-time try scorer Shane Williams, Gavin Henson and skipper Ryan Jones are likely to be among the first names selected for Wales's summer tour to face the Boks. And Gatland reckons newcomers such as Lee Byrne, Mike Phillips and James Hook have also proved they can step up on the big occasion and could make their mark in South Africa.
Add to that the grunt of Gethin Jenkins and Ian Gough, the expertise of Martyn Williams and the versatility of Alun Wyn Jones and Jonathan Thomas, and Wales will have their biggest say for the Lions.
Gatland said "Out of a British Lions squad of say 30 players, Wales could expect to have 13 players - and possibly more. There's always a balance to be found with the Lions. You could ask did Clive Woodward pick enough Wales players in 2005? But then there was criticism of Graham Henry in 2001 for possibly picking too many. So you have to go through a process.
"But you have to look at guys like the two scrum halves (Phillips and Dwayne Peel), both outside halves (Hook and Stephen Jones), our midfield (Henson and Tom Shanklin), Lee Byrne, Shane Williams and Ryan Jones as well as a number of forwards."
Wales have a record of producing Lions legends to face the Boks from Fifties giant Cliff Morgan, Sixties king Barry John and Seventies stars JPR Williams, Phil Bennett and Gareth Edwards to modern-day greats such as Neil Jenkins and Scott Gibbs.
But Gatland reckons this new generation of stars can also change the negatives. "Selection for the Lions will be a good indicator for these guys because they need to know what other players think of them from other countries," he said.
"But I know how this group of guys would respond to the challenge of being on the Lions tour. There is still another Six Nations to go yet so for these guys it's all about maintaining that form over the next 12 months. The litmus test is how they respond when it matters."
Gerald Davies has already been named as Tour Manager and Wales Assistant Shaun Edwards is heavily tipped to be part of the management set-up. Edwards and Gatland have three shots at the Boks this year, starting with this summer's tour in June.