December 17, 2017, 5:07

Rhys Priestland fears for Wales place against All Blacks

Rhys Priestland fears for Wales place against All Blacks

Rhys Priestland says it will be a “big surprise” if he is involved in Wales’ match against world champions New Zealand next Saturday.

The Bath fly-half was easily Wales’ best player in the 13-6 win over Georgia, kicking two penalties and a conversion in his first Test start since the 2015 World Cup.

But he was one of 14 changes made by head coach Warren Gatland for the game and further wholesale switches are expected for the match against the All Blacks.

It is thought Gatland will recall Dan Biggar in the number 10 shirt, plus stars like full-back Leigh Halfpenny, lock Alun Wyn Jones and number eight Taulupe Faletau.

“We will wait and see, I won’t hold my breath,” Priestland said, when asked about his hopes of facing New Zealand. “It will be a big surprise if I am involved next week.

“I am not too sure how much of a bearing this game (Georgia) will have on next week. There were a lot of changes for this game, and there will be a lot of changes again.

“We have been in this situation before when we have perhaps under-performed in the game against a tier two nation and everyone is doom and gloom.

“And then, changes happen and the boys up their game, because if you don’t up your game against the All Blacks it is going to be a very tough day at the office.”

The omens are not good for Gatland’s team. New Zealand have beaten Wales 29 times in succession and are undefeated against them since December 1953.

Priestland accepts they will have to make big improvements after being dragged into an arm-wrestle by Georgia’s heavyweight pack whose scrummaging superiority left the home side in set-piece disarray.

He added: “We knew what they were coming to do. It is very disappointing that we let them dictate the game that way.

“I am obviously pleased to be back here. I wish it had been a little bit different feeling afterwards.”


Related posts