herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Loss of duo huge blow for Gatland

WALES coach Warren Gatland has been hit with the double blow of losing out-half Rhys Priestland and loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins for their Six Nations opener against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week.

Although Priestland has been inconsistent for the Scarlets since returning from the World Cup, Gatland sees him as being the perfect fit for Wales.

"Rhys was probably the find, if not the best fly-half at the World Cup. He really does fit the type of game we want to play," said Gatland.

"His kicking game and vision are excellent. He stretches opposition defences as well because he's not afraid to run. There's a very good balance to his game. You can't underestimate the space he created for our midfield at the World Cup.



Reasons

"He was one of the reasons we saw some really big performances from Jamie Roberts, Jon Davies and Scott Williams. He will be a big loss for us."

Gatland sees James Hook and Gavin Henson as the two most likely players to step into Priestland's boots with Dan Biggar outside the magic circle.

British & Irish Lion Jenkins could be gone for a month with a knee injury: "Gethin is a huge loss for us for potentially the first two games of the tournament.

"He's a world class player. He's got a very good rugby brain and is able to assess things on the field."

While Gatland is more positive about Jamie Roberts, flanker Dan Lydiate is also rated as "touch-and-go".

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