Patchell not getting carried away
December 15, 2012
Cardiff Blues playmaker Rhys Patchell has been tipped to make his international debut in the near future © Getty Images
Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell has played down reports tipping him to claim a place in Wales' Six Nations plans.
The 19-year-old playmaker has earned rave reviews this season, most recently on his first Heineken Cup start last weekend, and despite having only played 10 games for the region he has been mentioned alongside the likes of the Ospreys' Dan Bigger, Perpignan's James Hook and London Welsh's Gavin Henson as a contender for the Wales No.10 shirt following an Achilles injury to Rhys Priestland.
"It's quite humbling that people have said some nice things about me, but if I'd have had a shocker last weekend against Montpellier everyone would be saying 'is this Rhys Patchell good enough for Heineken Cup rugby?'" he told the Western Mail.
"Look, it is what it is. I've seen the headlines but didn't really think anything of it. Not because I felt they were justified, but because if you are a fly-half and you play well you get the plaudits and if you play badly you get slated by pretty much everyone. You have to take the rough with the smooth."
Patchell, who will spearhead the Blues' attack once again this weekend in their return clash with Montpellier in France, is relishing the prospect of Test match rugby but is not expecting to get the nod in the near future.
"If, in two or three years, a Welsh call-up comes along then that would be fantastic but for the time being I'm enjoying myself at the Blues," he said. "I'm getting a bit of mickey taking for being noticed, but, like I said, you take the rough with the smooth and you throw a bit back!
"It is very disappointing for Rhys Priestland. For any sportsman to be injured for that period of time is hugely frustrating and six months is a long time. But there are loads of quality outside-halves in Wales.
"Not so long ago everyone was saying Matthew Morgan was going to be the next big thing and I think he has slipped under the radar. Matthew is a really good player and his attacking game is outstanding. Then there is obviously Dan Biggar and James Hook, there's Jason Tovey, Ceri Sweeney and Gareth Davies at the Blues too who are all pushing for the place."
Henson's chances of reclaiming a place in Wales' plans look a little better and London Welsh boss Lyn Jones is confident he will be up to the task with the 30-year-old set to make a return from back and calf injuries next weekend.
"Things were on course for Gavin as regards catching the eyes of Warren Gatland and Six Nations selection, but his lack of game-time over the past few weeks could count against him," Jones told the newspaper. "Can he come back and challenge James and Dan for the Wales No. 10 jersey against Ireland? I would say yes, he can.
"...Provided he is fit, it's going to be a big sequence of games for us and Gavin. He has got a lot of work to do between today and the end of January to impress the Welsh selectors. He's been excellent for us, a class act. What he has done is embrace his best position, which is No. 10.
"Everybody knows how much talent Gavin possesses. He's certainly worth a look at by the Welsh selectors. It's up to them to determine whether his form is good enough for the Six Nations, but he knows how to control a game, has vision, skill and a prodigious boot."
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