Wales

Achilles lays Priestland low

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 13:33
Rhyspriestlandinjured Rhyspriestlandscarletsgoal-kick

Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland will be out of action for six months after suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon during Scarlet's European Cup game against Exeter last Saturday.

Priestland underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the injury with an anticipated recovery time of six months.

Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby, who suffered a similar injury as a player said:  “It’s a big blow for Rhys and for our region to lose a player of his quality and influence in our team.

“He was coming through well in the last couple of games of the autumn, put in a strong performance against Australia and was making a real impact in our game against Exeter – so it’s very difficult for him to take; but he’ll get plenty of support from here throughout the injury period.

“I am sure that a player of his experience, intelligence and ability will deal with this very well and after a couple of weeks away to recover from the surgery will be back and can be a very positive influence in our environment.

“He’s a committed Scarlet and a player with a very good rugby brain and there will be a lot he can do to work in and around our environment to help the team, some of our younger players and in our preparations for games during rest of the season.

“We all want to show him as much support as we can right now, it's going to be a tough few weeks for him to accept what's happened but the boys here are a very close-knit group so I’m sure that will be a positive for him.”

Scarlets Head of Medical Andy Walker said:  “The surgery was undertaken this morning at the Vale Hospital and has gone very well. We have been fortunate to have had the injury assessed and repaired surgically so promptly and by a very experienced ankle and foot specialist.

“Rhys’ surgery was performed by a new keyhole surgery technique which is non-invasive and will aid his recovery and allow him to get into rehab with our medical team at a quicker stage.

“The anticipated time off the field is around six months but it all depends on the individual and how his rehab goes in the interim.

“He’ll be non-weight bearing for two weeks now, in plaster and then into a cast boot and then we’ll start rehab at a later stage.  This is a serious injury and the most important thing is that the medics do everything possible to ensure a strong recovery and not to rush the process at any stage," he added.

Wales' end-of-year programme was hampered by injury problems and saw them lose in four straight games to Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

Priestland's absence for Wales' Six Nations title defence is a fresh headache for coach Rob Howley, who is in charge of the team on a temporary basis while head coach Warren Gatland oversees preparations for the Lions tour.

Prop Aaron Jarvis (knee) has already been ruled out of the Six Nations, while lock Alun-Wyn Jones (shoulder) and flank Dan Lydiate (ankle) will not be able to participate fully.

Fullback Leigh Halfpenny (neck) and centre Jamie Roberts (elbow) are also short of fitness ahead of the tournament, which Wales open with a home game against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2.

Priestland was a key performer in Wales' run to last year's World Cup semifinals in New Zealand and he also played a pivotal role as they claimed a Grand Slam triumph in the Six Nations earlier this year.

His form dipped towards the end of the year but he started three of Wales' end-of-year matches and also made a substitute appearance against the Samoans.

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