Warren Gatland will watch both sides at the Probables versus Possibles trial
Wales head coach Warren Gatland expects the players named in the Possibles line up for the first senior trail in 14 years to be 'champing at the bit' to force their way into his starting XV for the summer tour and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Gatland will watch the Probables and Possibles go head-to-head on Friday, May 30 at the Liberty Stadium before picking his squad for the two-Test, three-game tour of South Africa shortly after.
And, while Gatland admits that the Probables are in pole position for the first Test against the Springboks in Durban on June 14, he insists that the Possibles have a great chance of forcing their way into the reckoning with a strong showing in Swansea.
"If I was a player and I was in the Possibles team I'd be champing at the bit trying to get my hands on anything that moved in a red jersey to get my name on that list and get on that plane," said Gatland.
"We have genuinely picked a Probables team of experience and a Possibles team that has got an opportunity to make an impression. You could argue the Probables guys have got one foot in the door, but there's a lot of pressure on those Probables players to front up and perform. The expectation is they perform, they win and are dominant but you look at the two forward packs and there's not a hell of a lot of difference between them.
"We've picked potentially the best XV to start for the Probables and the next best XV in the Possibles and then put guys on the bench. If you're on the bench in the Probables it doesn't mean that you are the next best player, because the guys in the Possibles are.
"There's a massive opportunity for players in both teams to get on the tour and put their hands up and start thinking about the World Cup. There's a huge amount of motivation for those guys in the Possibles to do well and be selected.
"We want to make sure this trial has real teeth. It's important the players will be selected on their performance. If you do well, whatever side you are on, you have got a good chance of being selected. If I was in that Possibles team, I would be pretty excited."
The senior trial will play a vital role in pre-tour preparations as far as Gatland is concerned, with the Welsh-based players otherwise set to go more than a month without a game prior to taking on the former double World Champions in their own backyard.
But it also offers Gatland a chance to look at his option for the upcoming World Cup, when the pool matches will come thick and fast and will require a full squad effort rather than a reliance on the same starting XV game after game.
"If we didn't play this game we would be going into the first game without a match in five weeks. To do that against South Africa, particularly when they would have had a game the week before against a World XV, would have been rugby suicide," added Gatland.
"It's a worry for us, particularly preparing for that first Test. That's why players are coming in next week. Some have been in this week working on their one-to-one skills. We need a run-out, we need a hit-out - it's really important for us.
"Part of the planning is also thinking about the future. That's why we have got the game against the Eastern Kings on the Tuesday. It's only a four-day turnaround between that and the first Test.
"We're trying to replicate what's going to happen at the World Cup and planning for that, where we've got a five-day turnaround between playing the Cook Islands or Fiji and England. We are going to have to have the confidence in the squad so we can put out almost a second-string side at the World Cup for that game before the England match."
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