Warren Gatland Looking for a Perfect 10

Warren Gatland will be scanning the Welsh rugby horizon this weekend, looking for a potential new Wales No. 10.


Gatland will be taking a close look at the four Welsh regions and who may be contenders in the position for the Six Nations as injuries and unavailability have left him in a quandary.


The New Zealander always knew that Sportin’ Wales columnist Gareth Anscombe was off to Japan after the World Cup and that Dan Biggar planned to retire from the Test scene.


What he could not have foreseen was the fact that the Scarlets’ Sam Costelow would be ruled out until mid-January with a shoulder injury and that the Ospreys’ Owen Williams would be sidelined with a hamstring problem.


On top of that, the Dragons’ playmaker Angus O’Brien now faces two months out of the game after breaking his arm in his team’s defeat against Munster.


Cai Evans could well be moved up from full-back to No.10 for the Dragons and Gatland will be keen to assess his adaptability having recently picked Evans to play against the Barbarians.


Wales kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Cardiff on February 3.


The Dragons host mighty Leinster on Saturday, but at least they have their international contingent back, including Evans, Rio Dyer, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Dan Lydiate and Aaron Wainwright.


Before that, the Welsh regions kick off the weekend with Cardiff at home to the Bulls and a landmark 100th appearance for centre Willis Halaholo.


Halaholo wasn’t even given a contract at the end of last season and seemed destined to be stranded on 97 appearances following a serious hamstring injury.


But he has proved his fitness and convinced Cardiff he was worth a new deal, with head coach Matt Sherratt admitting: “If you look at some of the big moments and wins over the last six or seven years, he has been there.


“He has been a brilliant player for the club and a brilliant person for the club as well. He’s very well liked.


“He has shown a lot of character. When he appeared against the Ospreys, he hadn’t played for 360 days.


“It’s great to see him back on the field, playing with his mates and getting to 100 games. He has shown a huge amount of resilience and fought for his career.”


The Scarlets are also at home this weekend, as they take on the Lions at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.


There could be revenge in the air for Dwayne Peel’s men who will be keen to get things right against South African opposition after their heavy defeats on their trip down south where they suffered against the Stormers and the Bulls.


The Ospreys overcame South African opposition last week when they beat the Sharks 19-5 at the Twickenham Stoop and they will be looking to back-up that display in front of their own fans on Saturday in Swansea, when they take on Glasgow.


Back row forward Morgan Morris has been catching the eye with a string of impressive performances and with Wales No.8 Taulupe Faletau out injured, Morris will be another of interest to Gatland.


Morgan says: “I obviously want to play for my country like everybody else, but I’ve got to focus on the things I can control and just do the best I can for the Ospreys week-in, week-out.


“The coaches here are good with that. They just tell me to worry about myself, don’t worry about anything else that’s happening around me, just worry about me for 80 minutes every weekend.”


“Our defence was good last week. We were in our 22 a lot, but we didn’t give up and won a couple of penalties. Mark Jones (defence coach) has had an amazing effect on us.”