However with the 19-year-old just one part of the heaviest backline in the entire RBS 6 Nations Gatland is at pains to avoid any over-reliance on the Scarlets star.
"We just have to be smart in the way we use him, we've got to put the ball in his hands," said Gatland.
"But modern rugby is about using your big men - and using them as decoys as well.
"Even though Rhys Priestland is the smallest of the 10-12-midfield combination he is still 6ft 3ins and has a big frame too.
"We have spoken about keeping our width, our depth, remaining square and challenging.
"And we are lucky enough that at the moment we have some firepower. Over 80 minutes, if you have big men and they run hard and straight and challenge inside-shoulders, at some stage someone is going to miss a tackle.
"Either that or we'll get some good quality ball on the front foot and we'll create an overlap. That's what we're trying to achieve."