Six Nations: Williams' Wales hope hit by Tigers choice - Gatland

Owen Williams
Owen Williams has played for Wales at under-20 level.

Owen Williams dropped out of Wales' Six Nations fly-half running when Leicester left him out of their starting line-up against Scarlets, says Warren Gatland.

The Wales coach named Dan Biggar, Rhys Priestland and uncapped Cardiff Blue Gareth Anscombe as his tournament 10s.

"The fact he did not start [against Scarlets] almost killed that discussion," said Gatland.

Tigers boss Richard Cockerill said: "They've chosen to pick a Kiwi [Anscombe] in front of him."

New Zealand-born Anscombe chose to bid for Wales Test honours having qualified because he has a Welsh mother.

Wales coach Warren Gatland says he was surprised by Rhys Priestland's decision to join Bath from Scarlets after the 2015 World Cup.

He linked up with Blues in the autumn and has been brought in to the Wales squad as Williams and 77-times-capped Gloucester fly-half James Hook were overlooked.

England fly-half Freddie Burns started Tigers' European Champions Cup win over Williams' former team Scarlets on Friday, 16 January.

Williams kicked a conversion after taking over from Burns in the 62nd minute of Leicester's bonus-point 40-23 win at Welford Road.

New Zealander Gatland said: "It didn't help him not starting last week.

"They decided to pick Freddie Burns so for me that was a pretty clear indication.

"If he had started and played well, then it would have been much more of a discussion."

Gatland explains why he included Cardiff Blues fly-half Gareth Anscombe in his Six Nations squad.

Ex-England hooker Cockerill felt Williams deserved the chance to train under Gatland.

"[I'm] disappointed for Owen because I would have thought out of three 10s he would at least get the opportunity to go and train with Wales and put his best foot forward," said Cockerill.

"But look, he's still a young man. There's still a little bit of development to come.

"He's a Welsh boy born and bred. He's come through their system. He's been here 18 months and developed very well with us.

"I'm sure he'll feel disappointed that they've chosen to, in all intents and purposes, pick a Kiwi in front of him."

Wales' Six Nations Fixtures:
Friday, 6 February: England (Cardiff)
Sunday, 15 February: Scotland (Murrayfield)
Saturday, 28 February: France (Paris)
Saturday, 14 March: Ireland (Cardiff)
Saturday, 21 March: Italy (Rome)

Williams says he expected Gatland to name the trio who will bid to make their mark in a tournament that kicks off on Friday, 6 February when Wales host England in Cardiff.

"There's a lot of good 10s in Wales at the moment and obviously I'd have loved to have been involved," said Williams.

"But to be honest I expected for them to pick the 10s they did.

"I spoke to people in Wales and I don't think signing here would affect that, to be honest, and yeah, in all fairness the other three 10s are playing well at the moment.

"So I can't really argue."


Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), James King (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Backs: Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons), Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon).

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