Priestland eyes Wales return
July 17, 2013
Rhys Priestland saw his Lions hopes dashed by an Achilles injury at the end of last year © PA Photos
Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland is determined to put his recent injury woes behind him and share in Welsh rugby's recent success.
Priestland has emerged from a nightmare season that saw him seek the help of a sports psychologist before an Achilles injury and subsequent surgery ruled him out of the Six Nations and dashed his hopes of selection for the British & Irish Lions. But the 26-year-old is now winning his fitness battle and is relishing the start of a new season and the chance to shine for the Scarlets and in turn add to his 22 Test caps.
"This is the best I have felt in about three years," he told the Western Mail. "My body feels good and I am just looking forward to coming back. I felt good when I came back towards the end of last season, comfortable on the field, but hopefully I'll feel even better now, having had another four months of rehab and training. I'm really looking forward to this season. Hopefully, I'll be fit and enjoy my rugby again. I have full confidence I will be."
Priestland is hoping to be back in time for the Scarlets' first game of the season but is taking nothing for granted having seen his hopes of a return before the end of the last campaign dashed by a fresh injury setback - a blow that also saw him ruled out of Wales' tour to Japan.
Instead he had to watch from home as a British & Irish Lions side dominated by Welsh players claimed an historic series victory over Australia and the Wales Under-20s side made the final of the International Rugby Board's Junior World Championship where they were beaten by England.
"It is an exciting time for Welsh rugby," he said. A big percentage of the Lions squad were Welsh and they showed how good they are, especially in that last Test. And the U20s were good as well. They were unlucky not to win the World Cup, which is no mean feat.
"So it's an exciting time for Welsh rugby and an exciting time for us at the Scarlets as well. We have a lot of players coming back, like Jon Davies from the Lions. He would have learned a lot from the tour and the U20s boys would have benefited from their campaign. They will be disappointed at the way it ended, but they still had experience."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park