Priestland eyeing World Cup berth
July 9, 2011
Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland has two Welsh caps to his name © Getty Images
Wales starlet Rhys Priestland insists that he is willing to play in any position in order to secure a place in Warren Gatland's squad for this year's World Cup.
Priestland is primarily utilised as a fly-half by the Scarlets but his first taste of international rugby came at fullback when he came on as a replacement for Lee Byrne during the Six Nations win over Scotland in February.
Priestland views himself as a playmaker but he is adamant that he doesn't care what number is placed on as back as long as he granted the opportunity to play.
"I'm comfortable with either position and hope that I can be thought of in both areas. But we have some great players in the squad in both positions," he said.
"Lee Byrne has made the fullback jersey his own and then there's my club-mate from the Scarlets, Morgan Stoddart, who is pretty handy there as well. With players like James Hook and Stephen Jones, who has had an amazing career and shows no signs of stopping, it's going to be a tough squad to get into. All I can do is keep learning, show my desire and work hard."
Priestland is currently training with Wales in Spala, Poland and he is relishing working closely with two legendary half-backs who have now turned their hand to coaching, Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins.
"We couldn't ask for two better teachers as backs," he said. "They both know the game inside out. Rob is a tough task master and he doesn't miss a thing. If there is a pass that goes astray or is not timed quite right you'll hear his voice.
"He has the highest of standards and doesn't let anything go and that's exactly the way it should be on the training pitch because that's the pressure you are under in a game. And, as a kicker, to be able to have the kind of one-on- one access to someone like Jenks is invaluable.
"He has gone from being the best kicker of his generation to probably the best kicking coach in the world and it's just a pleasure every day to be able to work with him. I pick up new things every time we go out for a kicking session.
"From a personal point of view, one of the major benefits of being in the Wales squad is having Jenks on hand whenever you need advice and to make you a better kicker."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action