Rhys Priesltand will be stronger after testing autumn
Scarlets backs coach Mark Jones reckons Rhys Priestland will become a stronger player following his difficult autumn.
The fly-half has come under-fire from pundits as Wales crashed to three consecutive defeats in the Dove Men Series.
They face Australia on Saturday, in their November finale, and Jones has backed Priestland to bounce back.
"One thing Rhys will learn from all of this is about mental toughness," said Jones. "And he will be a better player for it.
"You can't always see that sometimes. I have been there myself, you take a lot of flak, some of it deserved, but you do learn to handle that pressure and manage yourself better on and off the field and I'm sure the Scarlets will have a better player coming back here because of those experiences.
"I've spoken to Rhys and exchanged texts with him through the autumn and I'm confident that when he comes back here he will enjoy coming back into the environment.
"Perhaps having different voices and different coaches will give him a new focus.
"But he is a determined character under it all. He is very proud as well and he will be doing everything in his power to ensure his performance is tiptop.
"I've no doubt Rhys will bounce back, and it wouldn't surprise me if he was on good form at the weekend."
Priestland came in for particular criticism after over cooking two penalty kicks to the corner in last weekend's 33-10 defeat to New Zealand. The Welsh management team were adamant that the second kick went into touch.
But Jones was pleased with the way Priestland stuck to his game.
"By his own admission he is not playing at his best and when things aren't going for you - the touch judge perhaps gives a dubious decision - it just adds to the pressure.
"The good thing for me is that he looked like he was sticking to his principles in the New Zealand game.
"He was trying to execute what the coaches were asking of him. If he can keep to his principles I am sure he will be fine. He will be 100 per cent focused with Wales this week and I am sure he will do an excellent job."
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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