Rhys Patchell has caught Rob Howley's attention ahead of the RBS 6 Nations
Rob Howley admits Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell has thrown his hat into the RBS 6 Nations selection ring.
The 19-year-old starlet has risen to prominence with a string of impressive performances for his region in recent weeks.
He almost inspired the 14-man Blues to a Heineken Cup victory over Montpellier at the Arms Park in December and has produced man-of-the-match performances in the triumphs over Newport Gwent Dragons and Munster.
With Rhys Priestland ruled out for the duration of the Championship, Dan Biggar and James Hook are leading the race for the famous number 10 jersey.
But Howley has paid tribute to the Blues' young fly-half and insists he is another candidate to pull the strings for Wales in their Six Nations defence.
"Rhys is a young, developing player who is an option for us, but whether we pick two or three No.10s in the squad we will have to wait and see," said Howley.
"What is in no doubt is that Rhys has taken his chance with the Blues and I am in constant communication with Phil Davies and Gareth Baber about his talents.
"His kicking and defensive game is good and he is also quick to make a break and challenge the line."
Patchell however, is keen to play down the international speculation and is focused on establishing himself as a permanent fixture in the Blues fly-half shirt.
"I don't know about first-choice at the moment, there's a lot of really good 10s down there and whoever wears the Blues jersey knows they have to play at their best to keep it.
"But in terms of how quickly it has happened, it has been surprising.
"I'm not particularly comfortable with the international speculation. I'm 19-years-old and if I had had a shocker against Montpellier everyone would have been dismissing me and saying 'what is this joker doing, he doesn't belong in a professional rugby team.
"It is really humbling that people are saying I could potentially do this but I'm 19 and if it happens in the next two or three years then that's great but at the moment I want to play every week for the Blues and that's where it's at for me."
Of the other contenders for the keys to 10, Hook is currently sidelined with a chest injury.
He is expected to return to action ahead of the Championship and Biggar faces a crunch Heineken Cup tie against Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
And Howley remains confident that Wales have the talent to fill the void left by Priestland.
"We will miss Rhys but we feel we have some strength in Dan and James," said Howley.
"There is good competition there because they are both hugely skilful players.
"Dan was one of the form players going into the autumn before his injury against Samoa and he has been playing well since.
"We have always talked about Dan's kicking game being effective but he has become more of a running threat now.
"He is creating a lot of opportunities for the team and himself and is putting together an all-round game.
"Dan just needs to take it onto another level now when he gets the opportunities with Wales.
"I have spoken to James over the last few days and we are hoping he will play some part in Perpignan's final Amlin Challenge Cup game.
"Failing that, he should be available the following week in the French domestic league the weekend before the Ireland opener."
It was a double celebration for Wales and Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb when he called at the home of Welsh rugby to help commemorate the first anniversary of Principality Stadium and his return to fitness this weekend ahead of the RBS 6 Nations.
Prior to their departure to Wellington for the next leg of the World Series, Wales trained with England and Ireland. WRU TV caught up with Owen Jenkins who revealed the 'buzzword' which is driving the Wales squad on.
Wales head coach Rob Howley explains his decision to change the captaincy of the national side with Ospreys second row Alun Wyn Jones taking over from Sam Warburton for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations. Howley is hoping his decision will allow Warburton to rediscover his 'mojo'.
How do you follow a dancing hippopotamus - the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team has just the 'oneness' to do it say the BBC! For a decade the sight of a herd of hippos synchronised swimming around their own private blue lagoon, has lit up our television screens at regular intervals between favourite BBC One shows. But now the nation's most watched channel has relinquished its famous amphibious mammals in favour of a new show-reel which includes the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team.
Head coach Rowland Phillips and key front rower Carys Phillips look ahead to games against Spain and Ireland as Wales Women ramp up their preparations for the forthcoming Six Nations. The two warm-up games are a 'massive opportunity to refine the squad' according to the Welsh camp.
Martyn Phillips has discussed details of the newly published 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby' which puts in black and white terms the plans and direction of the governing body of the national sport in Wales for the next decade.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips has urged Welsh rugby fans to follow in the footsteps of their soccer counterparts at last summer's Euro Championship by backing their team to the hilt in the upcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Chief executive Martyn Phillips has highlighted the plans for Wales to become a breeding ground for national and elite club rugby coaches, which are contained in the WRU's 10-year 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby'.
Andrew Coombs is enjoying his new role as Nelson forwards coach. The former Dragons and Wales lock has big ambitions to become a professional coach but feels it's important to learn the ropes in grassroots rugby and where better than his home club Nelson, with friends and family close to hand.
Students at Brynllywarch Hall School, near Newtown, have transformed their own lives, and are now having a positive impact on others through rugby. The sport has had a life-changing effect on the well-being of the students who are now delivering rugby sessions to local primary schools and playing for a new mixed ability side
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.