Warren Gatland acknowledged six positions in Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad are still to be decided in the wake of their final warm-up match, with Cory Hill a doubt due to a leg fracture.
Wales’ squad for the tournament in Japan is set to be announced on Sunday and Gatland’s players were given one final opportunity to impress against Ireland on Saturday.
However, they were beaten 22-17 in Cardiff after a poor first-half showing.
The performances of certain individuals still appeared to give Gatland much to ponder, though, as he confirmed his plans to debate Wales’ various options.
“We’re going back to the hotel tonight to sit down and it’ll take a few hours,” he told a news conference. “There are probably six positions really up for debate.”
Gatland confirmed Hill’s inclusion was one issue that was still to be settled, revealing the 24-cap lock has been absent from the warm-up games due to a leg fracture.
“Our big discussion tonight is with Cory Hill,” he explained. “He’s got a fracture in his leg.
“We scanned yesterday [Friday] and he has a very small fracture which will probably keep him out until game two or three. It’ll be a big discussion point as to whether we take him or not.”
Another area of contention would appear to be at fly-half, where Jarrod Evans started against Ireland before Rhys Patchell came off the bench to score a smart late try.
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) August 31, 2019
Gatland insisted Patchell’s role in Wales’ attempted second-half fightback would not necessarily give him the edge over Evans.
“There’s no doubt that Rhys came on and did a good job,” the head coach said. “But it’s a hell of a lot easier coming off the bench when there’s no pressure on you.
“It was hard for Jarrod in the first half when the team isn’t going as well as it could.”
Saturday’s defeat means Wales, the world’s top-ranked side, will fall to number four in next week’s update.
Ireland did not do enough with a narrow margin of victory to take top spot in the rankings, but they will climb to second as New Zealand return to the summit.
Next week’s remaining warm-up fixtures are set to decide who will head to the World Cup as the number-one team.