Rhys Patchell's Wales call-up excites Phil Bennett

Rhys Patchell

Wales legend Phil Bennett believes Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell "has got it all".

Patchell, 19, has been called up for Wales' tour of Japan in place of the Scarlets's Rhys Priestland, who has withdrawn from the squad with a recurring Achilles tendon injury.

And former Wales and Lions captain Bennett is excited by the emergence of the teenager this season.

"He has all the talent in the world and he is a gutsy player," said Bennett.

"He has to get the experience and the more he plays for the Blues and, hopefully, Wales... he will gain that experience.

"I think Rhys Patchell has got it all. I have seen him put in some great tackling for the Blues.

"Now it is all about experience and he is one for the future."

The performance of the uncapped fly-half has been a highlight in a difficult season for the Blues.

Phil Davies, the region's director of rugby, gave the youngster his Pro12 debut in September and has seen that faith rewarded with 147 points in 22 appearances.

Patchell now replaces Priestland, who has 22 caps and had been selected in Wales' 32-man training squad for the two-Test tour of Japan in June, joining Six Nations winner Dan Biggar on the trip.

Priestland, 26, returned sooner than expected after rupturing his Achilles in December, but the injury flared up in the warm-up before the Scarlets's 28-17 Pro12 semi-final defeat to Ulster at Ravenhill.

Bennett is looking forward to seeing how Patchell handles the step up from regional to international rugby.

"I have been very impressed," said Bennett. "I think he is a talented player. He is a beautifully balanced runner and is quite a tall man for a fly-half.

"He runs very aggressively at defences and I think he has a lot of things going for him in attack. He kicks quite well, he is strong and very good defensively."

Wales face Japan on 8 and 15 June and will be coached by Robin McBryde, with head coach Warren Gatland and attack coach Rob Howley with the British and Irish Lions in Australia.

Top Stories