Rhys Priestland: Bath fly-half would be 'surprised' to play for Wales again

Rhys Priestland of Wales
Rhys Priestland won the last of his 48 Wales caps off the bench against New Zealand in June 2016

Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland does not expect to play for Wales again.

The 30-year-old has not played for his country since June 2016, winning his 48th cap on the tour to New Zealand.

Since then Priestland has been overlooked because of a selection policy that limits the number of non-Wales based players that coach Warren Gatland can pick.

"My sole focus is with Bath... I would be surprised if I play for Wales again," Priestland said.

"For me, I just want to play well for Bath. I love it at the club. It's a fantastic place to play and a fantastic place to live."

Gatland's wildcard options are limited to four players for the next two seasons, dropping to two for the 2019-20 World Cup year.

"I am not a stupid boy," Priestland added. "I know realistically that if they were going to pick three [wildcard] players [last season], it would be Jamie Roberts, Toby [Taulupe] Faletau and George North. And to be fair, I was injured as well.

"I am at ease. I have played 48 times for Wales. If I play again, I play again, but if I don't, I don't.

"I don't have sleepless nights worrying about whether I am going to get into the Wales squad or not."

Rhys Priestland has been sharing fly-half duties at Bath with Freddie Burns this season
Rhys Priestland has been sharing fly-half duties at Bath with Freddie Burns this season

The three players that Priestland has named - along with Liam Williams, who joined Saracens from Scarlets in the summer - are likely to be Gatland's wildcard picks this term.

Priestland joined Bath after the 2015 World Cup, saying at the time he was taking a sabbatical from Wales internationals - a decision he then reversed.

In January 2017, the former Scarlet signed a new contract that will keep him at the English Premiership side until at least 2019.

Asked if he thought he might come under Wales consideration this season, Priestland added: "I honestly wouldn't have a clue.

"They've obviously got Biggs [Dan Biggar], Sam [Davies], Owen Williams and Rhys Patchell [as fly-half options, which also includes Gareth Anscombe].

"They have got a lot of good options there, and a lot of young guys as well who are going to get better and better.

"You might think I am making it up, but I haven't given it any thought at all.

"It has been so busy at Bath. Everyone is so focused in terms of what we want to achieve this season that I haven't really got much time to think about anything else."

Priestland 'into the light'

Priestland has impressed during Bath's opening two Aviva Premiership games, helping them to victories over Leicester - their first league win at Welford Road for 14 years - and then European champions Saracens last weekend.

Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder said: "He has been outstanding, absolutely outstanding.

"It is out of the shadows and into the light for him. The way he controlled the Saracens game was outstanding.

"He is driving this team. He has been superb."

Wales' next Test is the autumn series opener against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday, 11 November.

Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa are the next visitors to the Principality Stadium on successive weekends.

Gatland's side kick off their 2018 Six Nations at home to Scotland on Saturday, 3 February.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.