Superb news from the Welsh camp as Rhys Patchell is named at full-back for Wales’ second test against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.
I can’t enthuse enough about Patchell. He is, quite simply, magnificent. Over the last few years he has showed the kind of skill, endeavour and composure at regional level that you would expect of the utmost professionals. I have documented time and time again how devastated I am to see Patchell having moved West – from Cardiff Blues to Scarlets – ahead of next season.
Patchell is brilliant at 10 and 15, but while he is said to favour the number 10 shirt, there is no denying the impact he has had at 15 for Blues this season. Combining with Gareth Anscombe at fly-half, he has proved to be lethal in attack and counter-attack. From full-back, he has a lot more space and time, and I think this is when Patchell is at his most dangerous. I sincerely hope he makes a huge statement this Saturday; he certainly has a golden opportunity to do so.
The only other change to the starting line-up sees Luke Charteris start at lock, with Bradley Davies dropping to the bench, as I predicted. The towering second-row will surely be an asset in the line-out, and always makes a nuisance of himself in the loose and at the breakdown.
Can Wales defy form and history this weekend? Time is running out to prove a point. Let’s throw off the shackles and play with some real flair. And play for 80 minutes, of course. If we can manage that, anything is possible.