Gatland hugely ‘impressed’ with Francis

Date published: August 4 2015

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has been "incredibly impressed" with tighthead prop Tomas Francis during their recent World Cup training camps.

The 23-year-old front-row, who shone for Exeter in the Premiership last season, looks highly likely to make the final squad for the tournament.

Although he is not involved in this weekend's game against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Gatland said that Francis has stood out in camp.

"All I can say about Tomas Francis is we've been incredibly impressed with him," he told reporters ahead of their first warm-up game in Cardiff.

Gatland named four uncapped players in his side that will face the Irish, with Ross Moriarty, Eli Walker, Dominic Day and Tyler Morgan starting.

"There’s an opportunity for a number of players but there are still six Lions in the squad," added the Wales head coach after naming his team.

"There are quite a few players who we know a lot about and that’s why there is a chance for some of the fringe players and younger players to go out there and perform at home."

Wales will take on Uruguay, England, Fiji and Australia in Pool A and after seeing Fiji lift the Pacific Nations Cup on Monday in an impressive performance, Gatland admits each game will be tough.

"We've been planning this for a long time. Fiji are going to be a tough team to beat so it's about how we manage the squad and what we do in these warm-up games," he added.

"It's about keeping the players as fresh as we possibly can."