Priestland risks losing Wales jersey to Williams
ESPN Staff
April 22, 2014
Rhys Priestland has made 19 appearances for Scarlets this season © Getty Images

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland must "toughen up" or risk being replaced by Leicester's Owen Williams, former British and Irish Lions No.10 Phil Bennett has said.

Priestland was disappointing in Scarlets' loss to Cardiff Blues on Sunday's 'Judgement Day' at the Millennium Stadium, while rival Dan Biggar also failed to impress as Ospreys laboured to victory over Newport Gwent Dragons in the second Welsh derby.

And Bennett has tipped Williams to replace them as Warren Gatland's first choice after an impressive first season at Leicester since his move from Scarlets last year.

Leicester's Owen Williams sucks in the Oxygen against Wasps, Leicester Tigers v London Wasps, Aviva Premiership, Welford Road, April 12, 2014
Williams has impressed for Leicester © Getty Images
"Without playing [Williams] overtakes them because he's playing so well in the Aviva," Bennett told BBC Sport.

Priestland scored a try against the Blues but missed a simple conversion in front of the posts and was substituted before the end of the match.

"Rhys Priestland is such a talent," said Bennett. "But you've got to realise they are not kids any more. We are talking about men who are earning good money playing for teams they want to play for and I think Rhys would be disappointed at his performance [on Sunday].

"His kicking out of hand wasn't great and that simple missed conversion, two points, so vital to build up confidence.

"Really at the end of the day Rhys Priestland has got to say to himself: 'I've got to toughen up. I've got to be stronger. I want to run the game. I'm number 10. I'm the one who'll decide how the game is run.'

"You feel a bit sorry that the Welsh number one is pulled off and with 20 minutes to go. Instead of controlling the game he is on the bench."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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