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Rhys Patchell

Rhys Patchell and Tomos Williams during training

Patchell ready for career pinnacle

Rhys Patchell is ready for the pinnacle of his rugby career as he prepares to head to a first World Cup with Wales this month.

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The 26-year-old Scarlets fly-half is one of two playmakers in Warren Gatland’s squad for the Japan tournament alongside Dan Biggar.

Patchell starts in the red No 10 jersey for Wales’ final warm-up clash with Ireland in Dublin on Saturday and hopes to put in a strong showing at the Aviva Stadium.

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“It’s huge, isn’t it? To play international rugby for your country is the pinnacle and to go deep into a World Cup would be really special,” Patchell said.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited. You’ve got to have a bit of luck and it’s terribly unfortunate for the guys who picked up injuries, but it’s opened up doors for other boys.

“People say it’s lucky I’ve made the squad and I do feel lucky. I’d say it’s probably all worth it and when my head hits the pillow before I fly to Japan then I’ll be happy.”

Wales unfortunately lost Gareth Anscombe for Japan after he suffered a knee injury in the first World Cup warm-up clash with England at Twickenham.

Biggar started the second meeting with the Red Rose while Jarrod Evans and Patchell were given a half each to impress against Ireland.

In the end Patchell edged out Evans for a spot in the final 31-man squad.

“Of course I can commiserate with Jarrod. Fair play to him he dropped me a text and I replied,” Patchell said.

“That was very good of him. I can completely empathise with the situation he is in having been there myself four years ago.

“It’s not a particularly easy position to be in, but unfortunately that’s sport and somebody has to miss out. I feel sorry for those nine boys who had a phone call, text or an email.”

Patchell is looking forward to starting a Test for the first time since Argentina in June 2018.

“I can’t thank the medical staff down at the Scarlets enough. They were excellent with me as were the medical staff at the Welsh Rugby Union,” Patchell said.

“It was me who was itching to get back to play and I was keen because in World Cup year every game counts and you know you have to be out there doing the business.

“At the start of the year I was trying to push the pace with it, but I learned you will be fit when you’re fit with these types of things.”

Patchell has previous experience of Japan having won his first Test cap in the Far East in 2013.

In total he now has 12 international appearances to his name and will make it 13 in Dublin.

“We’re going a bit early to Japan to acclimatise and we’ve been doing some humidity stuff in the gym where they turn the heating up to acclimatise body temperature,” he said.

“We are in our own little bubble when we’re in camp at the Vale. The boys expect a lot of ourselves in terms of performance and the standards we drive.

“ I’m sure those standards probably exceed what everyone else expects of Wales.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in Japan and how teams deal with the humidity and a greasy ball. Come the latter stages it will be probably be a bit tighter and that’s natural.

“Hopefully as not only a player but as a fan of rugby we see teams play positively and the ball thrown around. Hopefully we’ll see a team in red go deep into the tournament.”

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Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle
Patchell ready for career pinnacle