Scarlets outside half Rhys Priestland will be out of action for six months after suffering a ruptured left achilles tendon during the region’s Heineken Cup game against Exeter last Saturday.
Priestland underwent surgery this morning (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.
“We’ll be working closely with him to ensure we give him the best medical support possible including all the right nutrition to aid recovery so that he’s hydrating and eating well.”