Six Nations 2019: Wales coach Warren Gatland praises 'special' scrum-half

Tomos Williams has won six caps for Wales but made only two starts
Tomos Williams has won six caps for Wales but made only two starts

Wales coach Warren Gatland says scrum-half Tomos Williams can become a "special" player ahead of the Six Nations opener in France on 1 February.

Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies is unlikely to start in Paris because of a thigh injury.

Cardiff Blues' Williams and Aled Davies of Ospreys are the other options.

"Tomas is a young player who is pretty talented. He could be something pretty special," said Gatland, who expressed his injury concern over Gareth Davies.

The Parc y Scarlets half-back has not yet officially been ruled out, but Gatland is pessimistic about Gareth Davies recovering in time for Friday's tournament opener.

That leaves Williams, 24, on the brink of making his Six Nations debut.

"I don't think Gareth Davies is going to be fit for the first game," said Gatland.

"Tom is pretty competitive and he's combative as well. He doesn't back down to anything.

"He's got the potential to keep improving and developing."

Gatland also believes there could be some of his young players can become first choices in their positions ahead of established names.

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"There's players at the moment who are probably in the starting position who I think if one or two youngsters fulfil their potential there could be a change," said Gatland.

"That's going to be up to one of the two players to realise themselves they're capable of being number one in their position."

Gatland is preparing for his last tournament in charge since taking the Wales job in 2008.

It will be his 10th Six Nations having taken two years off in 2013 and 2017, to lead the British and Irish Lions to Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Gatland believes these two sabbaticals granted by the Welsh Rugby Union have contributed to his longevity as Wales boss.

"If I didn't have the opportunity and experience of those two Lions years and being away I don't think I would have lasted that long," said Gatland.

"They were good for me just to get away and refresh, to be involved with different coaches and players.

"Since the Lions in 2017 the focus has been on building up to 2019 and be motivated to want to leave Wales in a better place than I found it.

"The last two years have been easy. The union has been brilliant to me since I took the role and allowed me to go back to New Zealand, particularly with my family being back there."

Wales fixtures

Gatland says he has been revitalised by breaks in his native New Zealand where he has spent time with his family.

"Surprisingly, it was a lot easier than I thought because the time we have together is real quality time," said Gatland.

"I went back for Christmas, will go back after the Six Nations for a couple of weeks and then have a little break in July and August and they come over as well.

"When I'm at home I reconnect with New Zealand rugby, catching up with the provincial or Super Rugby teams, pick up knowledge, talking about ideas over a cup of coffee or by watching training sessions."

Pick your Wales XV to face France

Pick your Wales team to play France in the Six Nations on 1 February

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