Rhys Priestland in twin Wales mission against Australia

INTERNATIONAL FIXTURE

Venue:
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Date:
Saturday 3 December
Kick-off:
1430 GMT
Coverage:
Exclusively live on BBC One and online 1400-1630; Full coverage on BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru.
Rhys Priestland
Rhys Priestland ended up being Wales' first choice fly-half at the 2011 World Cup

Rhys Priestland says Wales are on a twin mission in their clash against Australia on 3 December.

He says Wales want revenge for their defeat by the Wallabies in the bronze medal match at the World Cup.

The fly-half also believes the players want to lay down individual markers for the Six Nations Championship.

"A chance to play against Australia who beat us in the third-fourth play-off [in the World Cup] is good for us," said the Scarlets playmaker.

"Hopefully [we can] put that result to bed and move on and get a victory against one of the southern hemisphere teams.

"It's a chance for players in this squad to impress and show what they can do ahead of the Six Nations.

"I'm sure everyone will try to put the best performance they can in to put a marker down before the Six Nations."

Priestland is expected to be named at fly-half, especially as James Hook is unavailable and his regional colleague Stephen Jones has been omitted from coach Warren Gatland's 28-man squad.

It will be the 24-year-old's first appearance for Wales since he helped them into the World Cup semi-finals with a 22-10 victory over Ireland.

A shoulder injury ruled Priestland out of the semi-final defeat against France and the subsequent bronze medal match.

But he returned to form last weekend, helping the Scarlets to a notable 28-23 Heineken Cup win at Northampton Saints.

"It's pretty strange coming back from New Zealand," he said.

"I've been with the Scarlets for a few weeks and now back [with Wales]. It's a challenge but I'm sure it's one everyone is looking forward to.

"My shoulder is not too bad. I landed a bit awkwardly on it [at Northampton] but it settled down quite quickly so I have no concerns.

"I'm sure everyone is on a bit of a high because everyone in Welsh rugby is doing well at the moment. Hopefully we can keep that going for this game against Australia.

"Any time you play against a southern hemisphere team it's a chance to see how good you are against the best.

"I'm sure if everyone does play to their potential then I think we should push them close or even get a victory."

On the back of Wales' impressive run at the World Cup, the Welsh Rugby Union have tied up defence coach Shaun Edwards and attack coach Rob Howley on contracts to the end of the 2015 World Cup.

And Priestland believes that can only be beneficial to the national game.

"Since my time [with Wales] I have been impressed with the coaches the way they want to play, especially Rob [Howley]," said the nine times capped fly-half.

"He always encourages players to play with their head up and play what is in front of them.

"That has given us a lot of freedom and he has backed that decision-making and our skills. So I think he has played a vital role in the way we played down in New Zealand.

"To tie up these coaches down on such long contracts can only be good for Welsh rugby."

Wales squad to face Australia

Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (capt, Cardiff Blues), Dan Lydiate (Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Lewis Evans (Dragons), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys).

Backs: Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), George North (Scarlets), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

Top Stories