WAYNE Pivac wants Dragons forward Cory Hill to be Wales’ version of Maro Itoje as a lock/flanker in the Six Nations.

The 27-year-old is one of five players from the Rodney Parade region to get the call for the tournament, which kicks off against Italy in Cardiff on February 1.

He is joined by the World Cup trio of hooker Elliot Dee and back row forwards Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty plus tighthead Leon Brown, who has given himself a shot at a Six Nations debut with strong form since missing the cut for Japan.

Hill has not played Test rugby since scoring the crucial try in the win against England last February on the way to the Grand Slam.

He has never started an international in the back row but seven of his last eight appearances for the Dragons have come with 6 on his back.

Wales are blessed with back row options and Pivac has selected Wainwright, Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Shingler, for the Six Nations.

But the New Zealander, who has succeeded Warren Gatland in the hotseat, believes the Dragons forward’s versatility could be a welcome boost in the tournament.

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“Cory Hill has been selected as a six/second row,” said Pivac, who has captain Alun Wyn Jones, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Seb Davies and uncapped Will Rowlands as his lock options.

“We’ve got a lot of second rows and want Cory to be that Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Scott Barrett type of player.

“Depending on conditions and opposition, he can be considered as a six or a second row and certainly having him in a matchday 23 gives us more options and more cover.

“That’s why you have seen him play at six for his club in recent times, that was in collaboration with Dean Ryan so that we could see how went and whether he was a viable option to cover those two positions at Test level.”

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Five Dragons got the call but there was disappointment for back row forwards Ollie Griffiths and Taine Basham and fly-half Sam Davies after they were called up for November’s uncapped fixture against the Barbarians.

Griffiths, who came off the bench at Principality Stadium, saw his hopes of forcing his way into the crowded back row ended by a calf problem that has sidelined him since December while Basham is seen as one for the future.

Davies, who was also a replacement against the Barbarians, misses out after Pivac plumped for Dan Biggar and Jarrod Evans as his 10s with centre Owen Williams their cover.

“I made about nine phone calls on Tuesday night and another one on Wednesday morning,” said the head coach.

“I spoke to the individuals concerned. The message was clear – what we’re looking for, the areas of their game that needs to be worked on and that fact that the finish line hasn’t approached for any of them.

“The World Cup in 2023 is what we’re working towards and we’ve got this campaign to deal with. Just because they haven’t been named doesn’t mean they won’t get game time in this competition, injuries happen.

“It’s just about working hard at their game in the areas mentioned by the coaches and putting their best foot forward in order to put their hand up for selection going forward.”