RHODRI Williams has been backed to earn a Wales call-up for the first time in six years as the scrum-half prepares to make his Dragons return.

After sitting out last week’s 20-20 draw at the Ospreys, the 27-year-old is back in the XV as captain for the final game of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 against the Scarlets.

The clash at Rodney Parade is a golden chance for Williams to impress the watching Wales management, who have a gap to fill at 9.

Two of the three World Cup scrum-halves are unavailable with Tomos Williams missing the autumn Tests because of shoulder surgery while Aled Davies is no longer eligible after moving to Saracens.

That leaves Rhys Webb and Gareth Davies as prime options – with a vacancy in the squad.


Rhodri Williams had a steady first season after moving to the Dragons from Bristol in 2018 but grew in influence in the current campaign, forming a strong half-back partnership with Sam Davies.

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He hasn’t featured for Wales since scoring a try against Scotland on his third cap in 2014 but will go head-to-head with another contender, Kieran Hardy, in Newport.

Sean Holley, part of the Premier Sports commentary team this evening, coached Williams at Bristol and believes he is in pole position.

“Rhodri is a player that I rate highly and is being talked about as an option for Wales along with Hardy, so that’s a really good match-up,” he said.

“There is a spot available for the autumn and Rhodri would be the next in line for me – he is a good age, is experienced, is a leader and has a good kicking game.

“He is the one for me, because he is a ready-made player for Wales.”

Holley was at the Liberty Stadium to see the Dragons scramble for a share of the spoils despite having a man advantage for over an hour courtesy of George North’s red card.

Dean Ryan has rung the changes to give most of his squad a run out ahead of the European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Bristol and an improved performance will be demanded.

“I saw flashes of some really good rugby at the Ospreys with the Dragons playing with a bit of width,” said Holley.

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“It was nice to see Nick Tompkins get his hands on the ball and the Dragons got to the edge of the Ospreys, with Ashton Hewitt’s first try and example of that.

“There were some good signs but I clipped some footage up for Premier Sports highlighting the number of errors – they made 32 compared to the Ospreys’ 12.

“That tells the whole story and I was looking across to Dean Ryan because a lot of those errors were in the Ospreys’ half when they were in the ascendency, and a lot of them were either unforced or basic contact errors.

“That shows a little bit of naivety, maybe a bit of rustiness but when the other side isn’t doing it as much then that’s not really an excuse.

“They showed character to score at the end and that’s a big positive that Dean would have taken out of it.

“It’s probably a balancing act for Dean of encouraging them to play expansively and developing the game management, because sometimes it’s not easy playing against 14 men.

“They push to the touchline and don’t commit numbers to the breakdown, so you have to work that out.”

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Sean Holley will be part of the Premier Sports team at Rodney Parade bringing rugby fans live Guinness PRO14 coverage of Dragons v Scarlets (Premier Sports 1 on air from 4.45pm) alongside Ross Harries, Rhys Ap Williams, Owain Gwynedd and Matthew Rees.  

On Sunday 30 August, the Premier Sports team will return to Rodney Parade for Cardiff Blues v Ospreys from 4.30pm on Premier Sports 1, with Ross Harries, Eddie Butler, Lauren Jenkins, Shane Williams and Tom Shanklin.  

Premier Sports has teamed up with Dragons, Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues to create a unique £80 (50p per game) annual offer for all new customers to watch the final 15 games this season and all 152 games in 2020/21.  

Each new rugby supporter signing up via this special offer on Sky and the Premier Player will earn £10 for their favourite team from Premier Sports as a contribution to clubs during difficult times. All supporters need to do is use their club’s promo code on subscription and fans are advised to contact their club for more information. 

Premier Sports, is the home of the Guinness PRO14 in the UK and shows all 152 games from the Guinness PRO14 season. Rugby fans can subscribe on Sky or the Premier Sports Player. Visit www.premiersports.com to sign up to see all the live action.