Priestland has operation on ruptured Achilles tendon
Wales star Rhys Priestland has to cope with the mental and physical agony of an injury that means he will miss this season’s entire Six Nations Championship.
The Scarlets outhalf’s hopes of touring Australia with the British and Irish Lions next summer also appear to be over after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The 25-year-old, who was hurt in last weekend’s Heineken Cup game against Exeter, underwent surgery yesterday and faces six months out of action.
It has left Wales nursing another major injury headache less than two months before they launch their Six Nations title defence.
The casualty count greeting interim head coach Rob Howley currently runs into double figures.
Howley, in charge for the Six Nations while Warren Gatland prepares full-time to head up the Lions tour, faces being without Priestland, prop Aaron Jarvis, lock Alun-Wyn Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate when Wales tackle opening opponents Ireland and France.
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, centre Jamie Roberts and lock Ian Evans, meanwhile, are unlikely to make their playing returns until shortly before the tournament starts, while the likes of George North, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones have also had injury issues.
With Priestland sidelined, Perpignan’s James Hook and Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar will probably vie for number 10 duties.
And Biggar’s Ospreys understudy, 20-year-old uncapped prospect Matthew Morgan, could now find himself in the Wales Six Nations squad as a further fly-half option.
“It’s a big blow for Rhys and for our region to lose a player of his quality,” said Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby.