Rhys Priestland's loss a big blow to Welsh hopes in the Six Nations

Last Updated: 12/12/12 10:34am

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Rhys Priestland: Huge loss for Wales

Rhys Priestland: Huge loss for Wales

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Wales coach Rob Howley admits the loss of fly-half Rhys Priestland is a big blow to their hopes of Six Nations success.

Scarlets star Priestland has been ruled out for six months after having surgery on the Achilles he ruptured against Exeter in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Howley will be in charge of Wales with Warren Gatland absent on Lions duty, and while he believes there is enough quality in reserve, Priestland's boots are big ones to have to fill.

"I'm hugely disappointed to lose such a talented player," said Howley.

"He turned his performances around in the autumn and had one of his best games in a Wales jersey against Australia - that spoke volumes about him.

"But the key thing now is to get the injury right. He's shown great character over the last four weeks and I'm sure that fortitude will come in over the next six months.

"We have good competition at 10 with Dan Biggar and James Hook. They are hugely skilful players and Dan was one of the form players going into the autumn."

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