Six Nations 2017: Wales' Rhys Webb says new faces can put pressure on stars

Owen Williams
Owen Williams left Scarlets for Leicester in 2013
Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Sunday, 5 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

The new faces in Wales' Six Nations squad "can put the heat on" established stars and win caps in the tournament, says scrum-half Rhys Webb.

Webb highlighted Leicester fly-half Owen Williams and Wasps open-side flanker Thomas Young, who are among seven uncapped players in the squad.

"It's great these new boys have been called into the squad," said Webb.

"The likes of Owen Williams and Thomas Young have been playing exceptionally well."

The seven uncapped players in the Wales squad are Ospreys flanker Olly Cracknell, Newport Gwent Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt, Ospreys lock Rory Thornton, Williams, Scarlets wing Steffan Evans, Scarlets scrum-half Aled Davies and Young.

Thornton and Davies have previously been involved in Wales squads.

"It's great for them to be named in the squad and they can put the heat on the boys that finished the jerseys off last," Webb told Scrum V Radio.

Williams, who joins Gloucester for 2017-18, is challenging Webb's Ospreys team-mates Dan Biggar and Sam Davies for the Wales fly-half spot.

Cardiff Blues' Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric of Ospreys stand in Young's way in the battle for the number seven jersey, while Gloucester's Ross Moriarty has also played there.

'I'm feeling fit and ready'

Rhys Webb
Rhys Webb made his Wales debut against Italy in the 2012 Six Nations

Webb will continue his bid for full fitness before Wales face Italy in Rome on Sunday, 5 February as Ospreys host Bristol in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday.

The 28-year-old, who has 23 Wales caps, scored on his return from an ankle injury in the 26-21 European Challenge Cup win at Newcastle last weekend.

On Saturday, Webb will play in his hometown of Bridgend as Ospreys opted to play at the Brewery Field rather than their usual Liberty Stadium venue.

"I know I've been out of the game for 12 weeks, but I know what I'm capable of doing," said Webb.

"I'm feeling fit and ready and glad they've released me back this weekend to get some more minutes under my belt.

"And I'll be ready then if I'm named in the squad for next weekend [against Italy]."

Wales in the 2017 Six Nations
Sunday, 5 February, 14:00 GMT, Stadio Olimpico: Italy v Wales
Saturday, 11 February, 16:50 GMT, Principality Stadium: Wales v England
Saturday, 25 February, 14:25 GMT, Murrayfield: Scotland v Wales
Friday, 10 March, 20:05 GMT, Principality Stadium: Wales v Ireland
Saturday, 18 March, 14:45 GMT, Stade de France: France v Wales

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