Rhys Priestland must 'make up mind' on Scarlets future - Pivac

Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland has won 32 caps for Wales
Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland has won 32 caps for Wales

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac says Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland must make a decision on his future with the region.

Priestland, 27, is in talks about a new contract but has been linked with a move to English Premiership side Bath.

While Ken Owens and Liam Williams have signed new deals with the Scarlets, Pivac says Priestland has a decision to make about his future.

"Rhys has got to make his mind up as to what he wants to do," Pivac said.

"We are talking with him on a weekly basis. That has not been resolved and it's a decision Rhys will come to."

Priestland signed a contract extension in February, though it is believed that was a short-term deal which expires at the end of this season.

His potential availability is said to have alerted a number of English clubs and Pivac admits it could be a struggle to keep the Grand Slam winner.

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions fly-half Phil Bennett believes Priestland is suffering from a lack of confidence and could perhaps benefit from a change of scenery.

"Rhys is a lovely man, perhaps too nice a man," Llanelli great Bennett said.

"What Rhys needs - he had an excellent game last Friday against the Blues [a 21-9 loss at Cardiff Arms Park] - he needs a run of games to build his confidence up.

Phil Bennett
"A few people have said to me perhaps the best thing for Rhys would be to move away from Wales for a season or two to regain his confidence," - Phil Bennett

"A few people have said to me perhaps the best thing for Rhys would be to move away from Wales for a season or two to regain his confidence.

"Where he goes for that I don't know but he is a very, very good player on his day.

"He's had a few hiccups along the way, I think it has dented his confidence, but what the Scarlets need like any team is a fly-half... to run the team from number 10, to mature, to enjoy his game, to play with a smile.

"At the moment his head drops when things go a little bit wrong, but the last two games I've seen him play, Ulster - excellent game - and the Blues I thought he was very, very good."

Pivac indicated he wants Priestland to stay but understands the fly-half has several factors to take into account before committing his future.

"There is a lot of rugby to go this season and he has a few things to look at before he makes his decision," Pivac said.

"We want all our top players to stay but the reality is that it's professional sport and individuals have to make these decisions."

While Priestland has been linked with a move away, there have been reports that Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell has been lined up as a potential replacement.

But New Zealander Pivac has distanced himself from such suggestions.

"My understanding is that he's got a year to run on his contract," Pivac added. "So I don't know where that's come from."

Wales lock Jake Ball is another Scarlets player who is understood to be in contract negotiations with the region over a new deal.

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