Gatland's 30-man group for New Zealand is likely to contain nine survivors - four backs and five forwards - from the failed 2007 World Cup mission when Wales made a pool stage exit under his coaching predecessor Gareth Jenkins.
Flanker Sam Warburton is poised to fill the captaincy role vacated by injured Lions Test hooker Matthew Rees, making him Wales' youngest World Cup skipper at the age of 22.
Gatland's main selection debates appear to be in the back-row and his final split of forwards and backs, whether he goes with a 17-13 combination or 16-14.
Three specialist locks - Bradley Davies, Alun-Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris - will make the trip to New Zealand, with Ryan Jones providing second-row cover, despite him possibly starting at number eight against opening World Cup opponents South Africa on September 11.
If Gatland decides to take five back-row forwards in addition to Jones, the list should comprise Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Josh Turnbull, Toby Faletau and 99 times-capped openside Martyn Williams.
Wing George North, who has scored an impressive six tries in eight Tests, is set to be the squad's youngest player, aged 19, with two 20-year-olds - Faletau and centre Scott Williams - also travelling.
Players who appear destined to miss out on selection could include scrum-half Dwayne Peel, wing Aled Brew, plus back-row forwards Andy Powell, Gareth Delve and Justin Tipuric.
Gatland will reveal his squad during a midday press conference at the Millennium Stadium on Monday.
"The debate for us is whether it is a 17-13 or 16-14 split,'' said Gatland, after Wales completed their tournament preparations with a 28-13 victory over England's opening World Cup opponents Argentina.
"There are one or two positions to juggle a bit.
"We are in great shape physically, we've won five of our last seven games and so we have to have confidence when we get on the plane.''
For the likes of Powell, a try-scorer against the Pumas, it promises to be an anxious waiting game, although he claimed: "There won't be any sleepless nights.
"There was a bit of pressure on me for the Argentina game. If I didn't perform, then it would be tough for the coaches to pick me.
"I've done as much as I can. It is everybody's dream to go to a World Cup, but I have just got to wait and see what happens on Monday now.
"I've done my best, so if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, then that is the way it goes. But it is not about me, and I am just glad we came away with the win."
Gatland has already lost Rees (neck), centre Gavin Henson (wrist) and wing Morgan Stoddart (broken leg) from what promises to be a tough World Cup expedition given that Wales are grouped alongside South Africa, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia.
Prop Gethin Jenkins is now the major concern, having failed to recover at this stage from a calf muscle injury that will be assessed by a specialist.
Gatland is resigned to being without 76 times-capped loosehead Jenkins for hte Springboks encounter, although recent medical opinion was that he should be fit for the Samoa appointment in Hamilton a week later.
Gatland has gone on record as saying he could name "one, maybe two" players carrying injuries in his squad, and Wales will also need to monitor an ankle problem suffered by hooker Richard Hibbard yesterday.
Hibbard made his comeback in the Argentina clash following summer shoulder surgery, but there could now be an 11th hour opening for Scarlets hooker Ken Owens.
Wales, without remotely hitting top gear, saw off the Pumas through tries from Powell, North and lock Alun-Wyn Jones, while James Hook made another assured contribution, kicking 13 points.
"It was a good team effort," said Jones. "We've gone from being a 50-60 minute side to being a full 80, if you like. We have put the work in to be able to finish games looking more physically equipped than we have done in the past.
"We will need all the physical tools available (against South Africa).
"We've had a couple of wins against England and Argentina, and with a lot of changes made in both games it shows there is a lot of competition for places."
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