Jeremy Guscott 'gobsmacked' if Rhys Priestland moves to Bath

Rhys Priestland
Rhys Priestland in action during the Scarelts' derby defeat to Cardiff Blues

Former Bath and British and Irish Lions centre Jeremy Guscott says he would be "gobsmacked" if Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland's decides to join Bath.

Wales international Priestland, 27, is expected to be moving to the English Premiership side after the World Cup.

Guscott admires Priestland's qualities, but fears he will struggle to start if the move materialises.

"He has all the skills. If he comes to Bath, though, I'm gobsmacked, I really am," Guscott told BBC Radio Wales.

"It's a brave move. He's 27, [Bath and England fly-half] George Ford is pretty established not just in the Bath side, but also getting there as far as England is concerned.

"There's another young lad there, Ollie Devoto, who has been talked about possibly playing fly-half as well."

Priestland is out of contract at the end of the season and held talks with Scarlets about a new deal.

He would be the latest in a string of impressive signings by Bath.

The Premiership side have taken rugby league star Sam Burgess into the 15-man code this season and have already confirmed Fiji scrum-half Niko Matawalu will join them next season from Glasgow.

Bath already have the likes of England international centres Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph in a formidable backline.

It is that kind of competition for places which has Guscott surprised about Priestland's apparent decision to join the former European champions.

"I was just really surprised to hear he might be coming to Bath," added Guscott.

"He has a world class game in him.

"When he's on form and when he's confident, he can dictate the tempo of the game and the direction of the game.

"If I was a player of his calibre, Bath would not be the club I would join."

The Scarlets fly-half has struggled with his confidence in the past, and was booed by some Wales fans during the 33-28 defeat by Australia in November 2014.

Priestland, who has played 32 times for Wales, sought the help of sport psychologist Andy McCann in 2012 following criticism from fans at games and on social media.

Wales coaches Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards both condemned the booing of Priestland during the autumn.

Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin thinks a move away to England could be good for Priestland.

"That's not good for anyone, when you come onto the pitch and people are booing you," said Shanklin.

"You know what it's like in Wales, it's a small place, it's good sometimes to get out of that bubble and see a new club, train differently, play with different players a new environment, breath of fresh air really.

"You're not going to be in that cocoon of the Scarlets or in the Welsh eye I suppose as much, the big thing is if he's playing, only time will tell with that."

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