As returns to the international fold go, Saturday’s error-strewn encounter between Wales and Georgia hardly fell into the glorious category for fly half Rhys Priestland.
A Test match which will be remembered for the calamitous climax when Georgia’s dominant pack was denied one final chance to make mincemeat of their young Welsh opponents was not the one Priestland would have chosen to resurrect his international career prospects after more than a year in the wilderness.
He actually didn’t have a bad game. Three crisply taken kicks and some intelligent and sympathetic distribution from the back, as well as a superbly weighted pass to set Hallam Amos up for the game’s only try, means Priestland can actually reflect on a reasonable afternoon’s work. Not that he was in the mood to do so at the final whistle on Saturday.
“I am obviously pleased to be back here but I wish it had been a little bit different feeling afterwards,” Priestland said. “It is a very frustrating performance to be involved with. I was pleased to be back, I just wish I had made a better account of it.
“It was quite frustrating, obviously, we couldn’t pull away, we didn’t play as we had prepared and I have got to take responsibility for that because I am leading the team on the field. We knew what they were coming to do, it is very disappointing that we let them dictate the game that way.”
Priestland can hardly be blamed for a succession of decisions which at times hinted at arrogance and a lack of respect for the opposition, when Wales declined to take kicks at goal only to go for touch and botch the resulting line out. He was, after all, only following team orders.
But the overwhelming mood at the Principality Stadium after Warren Gatland’s men dodged a bullet which could have had terminal consequences for some was one of relief, frustration and mild embarrassment.