Priestland out of South Africa tour
May 13, 2014
Rhys Priestland is out of the tour to South Africa © Getty Images
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland will sit out their June tour to South Africa due to a knee injury.
The news follows hot on the heels of Scott Williams' absence as he continues his rehabilitation from the shoulder injury he picked up during the Six Nations. Priestland, Williams' Scarlets team-mate, sustained medial ligament damage while on duty for the region at the weekend.
With Priestland out injured, Dan Biggar, who was named PRO12 Player of the Year on Sunday, is in pole position to start the first Test on June 14. The Welsh trial match, which will see a group of 'Possibles' taking on the 'Probables', will give Wales boss Warren Gatland a chance to weigh up his other options at fly-half.
Leicester Tigers' Owen Williams has been included in the 52-man squad for that game on May 30, but his availability is dependent on Premiership Rugby granting his release for the match as it falls outside of the pre-determined international window. James Hook is in a similar boat as his release is in the hands of Perpignan and Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the body in charge of the Top 14.
One other option at fly-half could be Bath's Gavin Henson who was included in the 'Probables' group. Despite his inclusion being the eye-catching name in the 52-man squad, Gatland played down the call-up, saying: "It's not a big talking point, he hasn't been selected since 2011 but he's got a good chance of going to South Africa as he's in the 52."
Again, similar to Owen Williams and Hook, Henson's involvement in the trial match is a Premiership Rugby issue.
"We are not 100% sure on player release," Gatland admitted. "We've spoken to Premier Rugby and they know our intentions to pick these players. We're hoping common sense will prevail. It's good for the Premiership and good for the players profile wise."
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