Rhys Priestland: Jonathan Davies delighted by U-turn

Rhys Priestland
Bath's Rhys Priestland spent eight years with Scarlets between 2001 and 2015

Wales legend Jonathan Davies is delighted Rhys Priestland has reversed a decision to take a break from international rugby.

Priestland, 28, joined Bath from Scarlets after the 2015 World Cup with the club saying he would not be available for Wales.

Bath coach Mike Ford has now confirmed the fly-half will be able to play if selected by Warren Gatland.

"I am delighted for Rhys that he has had a change of mind," said Davies.

"I was surprised by his initial decision, and I said that, because you don't want to turn your back on playing for Wales.

"But I understood his reasons - he wanted to commit to Bath. But I'm really shocked that it's such a quick turnaround in a short space of time.

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"I think it's good for Rhys and it's good for Wales and I think it's only bad for Bath rugby club and I can't understand what kind of contract it was."

Priestland has played 40 times for Wales, and was first choice during their 2011 World Cup campaign and the 2012 Six Nations Grand Slam.

Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland hug after Wales' 28-25 win over England in the 2015 World Cup
Priestland and Dan Biggar (wearing 10) both played in Wales' 28-25 win over England in the 2015 World Cup

He played in every Wales game during the World Cup, starting in the 54-9 win over Uruguay and coming off the bench against England, Fiji, Australia and South Africa.

Dan Biggar established himself as Wales' first-choice 10 after an Achilles tendon injury ruled Priestland out of the 2013 Six Nations, a position the Ospreys player has maintained.

However, Davies believes Priestland's change of heart will be welcomed by the Wales management.

"Dan Biggar is out on his own at the moment," added the former Wales captain.

"But maybe going over the [Severn] Bridge and being away from Wales and out of the goldfish bowl has given Rhys a bit of confidence.

"I know he's playing well for Bath and it's re-ignited his ambitions to try and fight for his place.

"He does offer something different from Dan Biggar, and one thing Wales need to work on is creativity behind the scrum and he certainly adds to that.

"He takes the ball to the line and he's more of an attacking threat."

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