Bath keen for Priestland to stay

Date published: January 4 2017

Bath want to extend Rhys Priestland’s contract even if George Ford decides to stay at the club next season.

Priestland’s two-year contract expires at the end of the current season, but Bath have entered into negotitations with his representatives with the hopes of extending his stay.

His former club Scarlets have been touted as a possible destination should Priestland decide to leave, while Ford is weighing up his options considering he has a bay-out clause in his contract, which runs until 2018.

Bath would prefer to have two international fly-halves on their books which would come in handy if they qualify for next season’s Champions Cup.

“We’re working to retain Rhys,” director of rugby Todd Blackadder told the Chronicle.

“We were always going to do that regardless of the situation (with Ford).”

Priestland made his Bath debut after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He has made ten Premiership starts for the club, plus eight appearances from the bench.

This season, he has only featured in a total of seven games due to knee injuries suffered against Newcastle Falcons in September and Bristol in November.

“Rhys hasn’t really had much of a chance this season, but he’s played at the highest level,” Blackadder added.

“He’s an international ten. They’re like hen’s teeth. They’re gold and you want to have two guys competing for a spot like that. You need someone who can lead a team off the field, but also on it,” Blackadder continued.

“I think that’s absolutely critical; having those guys with that experience in key positions. Rhys brings a lot of experience.”