Patchell suffers surgery setback
Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:05
Out for up to four months
Cardiff Blues have been hit with a heavy blow after flyhalf Rhys Patchell was ruled out for the foreseeable future.
The talented youngster is facing a lengthy lay-off after injuring his knee in last week's derby win over the Dragons at the Arms Park.
That problem comes on top of an existing shoulder injury and the two issues combined could keep him out of the game for up to four months.
Patchell was helped off the field after half-an-hour of the Blues' 21-13 Pro12 triumph on New Year's Day and scans revealed he will need surgery on his damaged left knee.
It means the Blues will have to head to Nice to face European Cup champions Toulon this weekend without one of their star performers in Decembers' back-to-back European wins over Glasgow Warriors.
Gareth Davies, who scored the match-winning try for the Blues against Toulon in Round Two in October is the likely replacement for Saturday's Round Five fixture in France.
With Toulon two points ahead of the Blues in Pool Two, whichever team wins at the weekend will be favourites to take a quarterfinal spot.
"We've got confidence in Gareth and he has done a fantastic job for us this season. He came on against Toulon in October and won us the game," said Blues boss Phil Davies.
"We know we have got a big job ahead of us, but Gareth has got the ability. It's about getting him to show what he can do and lead the team around the pitch."
Toulon currently top the pool with 15 points from four games having picked up maximum points in their two home ties so far, but the Blues have happy memories of their last fixture against Jonny Wilkinson and co in France when they claimed European Challenge Cup glory in Marseilles.
The Blues ran out surprise 28-21 winners three years ago to become the first Welsh side to win a European trophy and a repeat of that success would mean that victory over Exeter in Cardiff in Round Six would secure a quarterfinal spot for the second time in three seasons.
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