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Rhys Priestland's break from international rugby may have a big impact on Taulupe Faletau

Priestland is quitting international rugby for at least 18 months.

Priestland featured in all of Wales' games in the World Cup.
Priestland featured in all of Wales' games in the World Cup.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

TAULUPE FALETAU’S POTENTIAL move to Bath looks to have moved past a significant stumbling block, with the news that his Welsh teammate – currently at the Premiership side – Rhys Priestland, is taking an extended break from international rugby.

Out-half Priestland and Jamie Roberts were set to be Warren Gatland’s two wildcard (players based outside Wales) selections he is allowed under the terms of an arrangement with the WRU.

And with the Newport Gwent Dragons keen to cash in on Faletau before his contract expires in the summer, it meant that any potential move for the number eight outside Wales would have left Warren Gatland without one of either he, Priestland or Roberts.

However, Bath coach Mike Ford has confirmed that Priestland is taking a break from international rugby for at least 18 months, in order to concentrate on his new club.

Speaking after Bath’s 19-9 defeat to Wasps, Ford said: “We want Rhys with us and he’s going to take a break from international rugby for the next 18 months.

“It’s his choice and he wants to develop here, get settled at Bath and put a lot of effort and time into being the best player he can be at Bath.

“When George is away with the Six Nations, Rhys will be our 10.

“Eighteen months later is still two years away from the next World Cup and he’s still young enough, if he wants to carry on playing for his country, he can do.”

Priestland is stepping aside from the test scene after 40 caps and 74 points, and his departure appears to have removed the biggest stumbling block in Faletau’s potential move to the club.

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Neil Treacy

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