Wales boss Warren Gatland excited about fly-half options for Scotland clash

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Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe look set to be vying for the Wales fly-half spot in the NatWest 6 Nations opener against Scotland.

Wales confirmed on Wednesday that Dan Biggar will miss the first three matches of the tournament with a shoulder problem, while Rhys Priestland is currently out due to a hamstring injury.

Gloucester’s Owen Williams is in the squad but head coach Warren Gatland says he is at a “disadvantage” due to being based in England.

“We’ve got three options and from an attacking perspective, it’s pretty exciting in terms of which way we go,” said Gatland.

Scarlets v RC Toulon – European Champions Cup – Pool Three – Parc y Scarlets
Rhys Patchell will be hoping for a chance against Scotland (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“The exciting thing is that we’re going to pick a player who hasn’t started in that position in the Six Nations.

“Opposition teams know Dan Biggar pretty well, so we could potentially have a fly-half that the opposition don’t know a lot about.”

Full-back Liam Williams is a major doubt for the Scotland game and could miss the entire tournament with an abdominal injury.

The 26-year-old suffered a recurrence of the problem playing for Saracens against Ospreys earlier this month.

Gatland revealed that unless the injury responds to treatment Williams will need an operation, ruling him out completely.

An irritated Gatland also suggested the option of surgery on the problem, which had previously kept Williams out for six weeks, should have been taken up earlier.

Wales v Ireland – RBS 6 Nations – Principality Stadium
Liam Williams may need an operation (David Davies/PA)

“He potentially had the option of surgery before, and that was not taken up.”

Wales last won the tournament in 2013 and find themselves as low as fourth in the betting with some bookmakers.

Gatland admits the visit of the resurgent Scots, fresh from two wins over Australia and running New Zealand close in the last year, will be pivotal to their chances.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.  “People are writing us off, which is nice, and I’m expecting us to do well.

“We’ve got Scotland first which will be a good challenge for us. We’ve got to win that first game.

“It’s a tough competition. Since 2013 we’ve finished second one year, lost out on points difference. We’ve been right in the competition since then.

“We’re pleased with how we’ve done. If you look at our win ratio since I’ve been involved, I think we’ve had a fantastic record but it’s a tough tournament to win.”

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