COACH Rob Howley expects "intelligent" Dragons-bound scrum-half Rhodri Williams to be pushing for a place in the Wales side in World Cup year.

The 24-year-old will head to Rodney Parade from Bristol in the summer after two seasons in England.

Williams won three caps as a replacement when playing for the Scarlets in 2013/14, playing against Tonga and Australia in the autumn and then scoring a first Test try in the Six Nations win against Scotland in Cardiff.

A motivation for returning to Wales is the chance to represent his country under the new international selection policy that has led to the 9 jersey being up for grabs.

Rhys Webb will be unavailable when he moves to Toulon next summer, leaving Williams to battle with Gareth Davies, Aled Davies, Tomos Williams and Lloyd Williams.

Ex-Wales and Lions scrum-half Howley believes the spell in the West Country means Williams will return ready to push for a spot in the build-up to Japan 2019.

"I'd like to think that he is coming back with the hope of playing international rugby and he is a very intelligent scrum-half," said Warren Gatland's right-hand man.

"He scored a fantastic try against Scotland and runs positive lines, has a great skill set, can pass off both hands and will bring experience to the Dragons after his time with Bristol.

"They have a young scrum-half in Dan Babos, who is coming along nicely, but Rhodri will benefit the Dragons.

"When you only have four regions, if he is playing week in, week out and in the big games against rivals, then he has a big opportunity to be selected for the national team.

"I have got no doubt that Rhodri is coming back to do that after a very positive experience with Bristol. He has played particularly well over there and is a great signing for the Dragons."

Williams is being joined in swapping Bristol for Rodney Parade by utility back Jordan Williams and loosehead Ryan Bevington.

Jordan Williams is uncapped but was selected by Gatland for the tour to South Africa in 2014 while Bevington won the last of his 13 earlier that year against Italy in the Six Nations.

The front rower believes the two Williams will be on the Wales radar while he hasn't given up hope of a recall with Rob Evans, Wyn Jones and Nicky Smith the current Test trio battling for the 1 jersey.

"I definitely think Jordan and Rhodri have the potential to interest Warren," says Bevington.

"I have absolutely no idea if I have any chance of winning back a place in the Wales set-up.

"We'll just see what happens. The Dragons are my priority and I'm just going to work as hard as I can for them, but of course I still have ambition.

"The time is right for me to come home. Bristol have been great and playing for them has been a good experience, but I fancied a move back to Wales.

"Stuff like being around family and old friends is important to me, while there's an element, too, about coming home and being back in the shop window, if you like."