Rhys Priestland 'will cope well with injury'

First published in Wales rugby

WALES star Rhys Priestland has been backed to cope with the mental and physical agony of an injury that means he will miss this season's entire RBS 6 Nations Championship.

The Scarlets fly-half's hopes of touring Australia with the British and Irish Lions next summer also appear to be over after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The 25-year-old, who was hurt in last weekend's Heineken Cup game against Exeter, underwent surgery today and faces six months out of action.

It has left Wales nursing another major injury headache less than two months before they launch their Six Nations title defence.

The casualty count greeting interim head coach Rob Howley currently runs into double figures.

Howley, in charge for the Six Nations while Warren Gatland prepares full-time to head up the Lions tour, faces being without Priestland, prop Aaron Jarvis, lock Alun-Wyn Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate when Wales tackle opening opponents Ireland and France.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, centre Jamie Roberts and lock Ian Evans, meanwhile, are unlikely to make their playing returns until shortly before the tournament starts, while the likes of George North, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones have also had injury issues.

With Priestland sidelined, Howley would appear to have a straight choice between Perpignan's James Hook and Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar for number 10 duties.

And Biggar's Ospreys understudy, 20-year-old uncapped prospect Matthew Morgan, could now find himself in the Wales Six Nations squad as a further fly-half option.

In the meantime, all thoughts are with Priestland as he begins a long recovery process.

"It's a big blow for Rhys and for our region to lose a player of his quality and influence in our team,’’ Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby said.

"He was coming through well in the last couple of games of the autumn, put in a strong performance against Australia and was making a real impact on our game against Exeter, so it's very difficult for him to take.

"But he will get plenty of support from here throughout the injury period.

"I am sure that a player of his experience, intelligence and ability will deal with this very well, and after a couple of weeks away to recover from the surgery he will be back and can be a very positive influence in our environment.

"He's a player with a very good rugby brain, and there will be a lot he can do to work in and around our environment to help the team, some of our younger players and in our preparations for the rest of the season.

"We all want to show him as much support as we can right now. It's going to be tough to take, but the boys here are a very close-knit group so I'm sure that will be a positive for him.’’ Priestland, who has won 22 Test caps, was a driving force behind Wales' outstanding push to reach the World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand last year.

He then featured prominently during last season's Six Nations, when Wales were crowned Grand Slam champions, and although the latter half of 2012 saw him struggle to reproduce that form he remained a key member of the Wales team, starting three of the recent autumn Tests and going on as a substitute against Samoa.

Scarlets medical chief Andy Walker revealed that Priestland's operation had been performed using a new keyhole technique.

"Rhys' surgery was performed by a new keyhole surgery technique which is non-invasive and will aid his recovery and allow him to get into rehab with our medical team at a quicker stage,’’ Walker said.

"The anticipated time off the field is around six months, but it all depends on the individual and how his rehab goes in the interim.

"The surgery has gone very well. It is a difficult injury, but we have been fortunate to have had the injury assessed and repaired surgically so promptly, and by a very experienced ankle and foot specialist.

"He will be non-weight bearing for two weeks now, in plaster and then into a cast boot, and then we will start rehab at a later stage.

"This is a serious injury, and the most important thing is that the medics do everything possible to ensure a strong recovery and not to rush the process at any stage.’’

Comments (9)

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5:43pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Shillabeers nemesis says...

Get wellsoon, but thank god hes out, hes been hit and miss at best.
Get wellsoon, but thank god hes out, hes been hit and miss at best. Shillabeers nemesis
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Tue 11 Dec 12

the-dragons says...

Bit of hope he may use the time to learn how to kick again !!
Bit of hope he may use the time to learn how to kick again !! the-dragons
  • Score: 0

7:44pm Tue 11 Dec 12

newport city of dreams says...

very harsh lads, when west is best...
very harsh lads, when west is best... newport city of dreams
  • Score: 0

9:13pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Euwan Usami says...

There is a god!! Now he's finally out of the picture perhaps the stand out 10 in France will get his chance?
There is a god!! Now he's finally out of the picture perhaps the stand out 10 in France will get his chance? Euwan Usami
  • Score: 0

9:49pm Tue 11 Dec 12

the-dragons says...

So your saying his kicking has been up to a good then Newport city of dreams!
So your saying his kicking has been up to a good then Newport city of dreams! the-dragons
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Wed 12 Dec 12

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

This is harsh on Rhys considering people who were praising him up during the world cup are now on his back, never wish an injury on any player but people need to realise its not just Rhys P who has been off form,
This is harsh on Rhys considering people who were praising him up during the world cup are now on his back, never wish an injury on any player but people need to realise its not just Rhys P who has been off form, kalwales@hotmail.com
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Wed 12 Dec 12

corpardguy says...

I wish the boy well, he has not been at his best and he and the rest of Wales know it for some time now. But he was always trying, however it was not always his fault he failed sometimes game plans call for 'daft' options.
This enforced 'rest' may actually do him some good. he will be out of the limelight and nasty press and fan coverage and commentary. That just may help his confidence grow again, and any sport needs confidence going into the fray.
Its a tough challenge to be right on Top one minute, then can't do anything right the next, especially in such a high profile spot. Not everyone can take it, the fall outs are many and prominent (remember Danny " wonderkind " Cippriani, Mathew Tait etc )
Hooky should start with Biggar on bench at least for the first game!
I wish the boy well, he has not been at his best and he and the rest of Wales know it for some time now. But he was always trying, however it was not always his fault he failed sometimes game plans call for 'daft' options. This enforced 'rest' may actually do him some good. he will be out of the limelight and nasty press and fan coverage and commentary. That just may help his confidence grow again, and any sport needs confidence going into the fray. Its a tough challenge to be right on Top one minute, then can't do anything right the next, especially in such a high profile spot. Not everyone can take it, the fall outs are many and prominent (remember Danny " wonderkind " Cippriani, Mathew Tait etc ) Hooky should start with Biggar on bench at least for the first game! corpardguy
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Euwan Usami says...

corpardguy wrote:
I wish the boy well, he has not been at his best and he and the rest of Wales know it for some time now. But he was always trying, however it was not always his fault he failed sometimes game plans call for 'daft' options.
This enforced 'rest' may actually do him some good. he will be out of the limelight and nasty press and fan coverage and commentary. That just may help his confidence grow again, and any sport needs confidence going into the fray.
Its a tough challenge to be right on Top one minute, then can't do anything right the next, especially in such a high profile spot. Not everyone can take it, the fall outs are many and prominent (remember Danny " wonderkind " Cippriani, Mathew Tait etc )
Hooky should start with Biggar on bench at least for the first game!
Couldn't agree more. Just glad the decision has been taken out of Gatlands hands, he took loyalty to ridiculous levels to be fair and would of picked him for ever while Hook, in the best form of his life, watched from the bench. Let Rhys get his form back with the region. Six nations; Hook to start, Biggar on bench . That's better! :)
[quote][p][bold]corpardguy[/bold] wrote: I wish the boy well, he has not been at his best and he and the rest of Wales know it for some time now. But he was always trying, however it was not always his fault he failed sometimes game plans call for 'daft' options. This enforced 'rest' may actually do him some good. he will be out of the limelight and nasty press and fan coverage and commentary. That just may help his confidence grow again, and any sport needs confidence going into the fray. Its a tough challenge to be right on Top one minute, then can't do anything right the next, especially in such a high profile spot. Not everyone can take it, the fall outs are many and prominent (remember Danny " wonderkind " Cippriani, Mathew Tait etc ) Hooky should start with Biggar on bench at least for the first game![/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more. Just glad the decision has been taken out of Gatlands hands, he took loyalty to ridiculous levels to be fair and would of picked him for ever while Hook, in the best form of his life, watched from the bench. Let Rhys get his form back with the region. Six nations; Hook to start, Biggar on bench . That's better! :) Euwan Usami
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Wed 12 Dec 12

corpardguy says...

If we need understudies to Hooky and Biggar, (who I regard as the 'naturals') whats wrong with our Dan!
He has played a lot of rugby at 10 and proved the other night he is an accomplished performer there. He's much more of a solid option than another untried 20 year old from Scarlets for the big games I would have thought.
If we need understudies to Hooky and Biggar, (who I regard as the 'naturals') whats wrong with our Dan! He has played a lot of rugby at 10 and proved the other night he is an accomplished performer there. He's much more of a solid option than another untried 20 year old from Scarlets for the big games I would have thought. corpardguy
  • Score: 0

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