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Gatland given food for thought

Warren Gatland was delighted to be given several selection headaches by the younger members of his squad as Wales opened their tour of South Africa with a 34-12 win over the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth.

It was a straightforward night's work for the tourists as Josh Turnbull, Cory Allen, James Hook, Alex Cuthbert and Gareth Davies all scored tries, with Hook adding another nine points with the boot.

Wing Siviwe Soyizwapi and replacement prop Simon Kerrod crossed for the hosts, with fly-half George Whitehead adding a solitary conversion.

Wales can now go into Saturday's first Test against South Africa buoyed by a good victory, and several encouraging performances from the likes of number eight Dan Baker, scrum-half Rhodri Williams and full-back Matthew Morgan.

It gives Gatland plenty to ponder ahead of Thursday's announcement of his Test team.

"I am absolutely delighted with that result," said the head coach.

"It was a tough game, they never gave up and put us under pressure which was good. Winning any game in South Africa you have got to enjoy it. I have told the guys in the dressing room the same thing.

"We can take a lot of confidence from that. We got a lot out of that.

"There were some good performances. Scott Baldwin was good at hooker, both scrum-halves were good with Rhodri doing well when he switched to the wing and Matthew Morgan was exciting.

"His decision making was excellent at 15, he brought the ball back, ran when it was on, passed and kicked when he needed to.

"So all of us are pretty happy with that and we have some welcome headaches."

Gatland also alleviated any worries over the fitness of wing George North.

The Northampton man had been named on the bench but was left at the team hotel as a precaution due to a slight virus which is not expected to keep him out of Saturday's Durban showdown.

"He had a headache and a fever on Monday night, so we just thought it precautionary to isolate him, so he did not affect anyone else," said Gatland.

"We did debate who might sit on the bench instead among the staff, but we just stuck with the 22."

Kings head coach Carlos Spencer was pleased with his side's efforts as they gear up for their Currie Cup campaign, but also had words of praise for Wales.

"I am pleased with that performance," said the former All Black fly-half. "We struggled in the early going but we responded well and we never stopped. We kept going.

"A few players let themselves down a bit with execution on a few things, but we were playing a good side.

"That was Wales' first hit since the Six Nations they had a lot of young guys busting a gut and they made it tough for us. They are a good side, but we will learn a lot from this."


From Belfast Telegraph