Rhys Webb: Wales coach Wayne Pivac says returning scrum-half must prove himself

Rhys Webb prepares to kick for Wales against South Africa
Rhys Webb made his 31st appearance for Wales against South Africa in December 2017
Guinness Six Nations
Dates: 1 February-14 March
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Scrum-half Rhys Webb has been warned he faces a battle to regain his number nine jersey after being recalled to the Wales Six Nations squad.

Webb has been named in Wayne Pivac's 38-man squad after becoming eligible for Wales again.

The 31-year-old last played for Wales against South Africa in December 2017 and Pivac says he faces competition from Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams.

"He needs to come in and prove himself again," said Pivac.

Webb had been ineligible for Wales since the WRU brought in a selection policy in October 2017 that meant players would not be picked if they had won fewer than 60 caps and opted to move away from Wales.

The British and Irish Lions scrum-half had announced he was signing for Toulon from Ospreys and missed the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Webb is eligible to play for Wales in the 2020 Six Nations after announcing he will return to Ospreys from Toulon who agreed to Webb's early release from his contract for family reasons.

The Welsh Rugby Union confirmed Webb was available for immediate selection after being given a "six-month dispensation".

This had caused concern from the French side with Toulon owner Bernard Lemairtre suggesting Webb might have played the last game for the club.

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Wayne Pivac explains his Wales squad selection for the Six Nations

Pivac is concerned with how Webb performs with Wales as he bids to try and oust Williams and Davies as well as helping his scrum-half rivals.

"We know what he's done in the past," said Pivac.

"He's been a British and Irish Lion, is a very capable player, has a lot of experience.

"Bringing him back in is an opportunity for him but it's not an automatic selection by any means. He knows that.

Wales in the 2020 Six Nations
Saturday, 1 February, 14:15 GMT: Wales v Italy (live on BBC TV, S4C, 5 live sports extra and Radio Wales)
Saturday, 8 February, 14:15 GMT: Ireland v Wales (live on S4C and BBC Radio 5 live)
Saturday, 22 February, 16:45 GMT: Wales v France (live on BBC TV, S4C, 5 live sports extra and Radio Wales)
Saturday, 7 March, 16:45 GMT: England v Wales (live on S4C and BBC Radio 5 live)
Saturday, 14 March, 14:15 GMT: Wales v Scotland (live on BBC TV, S4C; radio coverage TBC)

"What it does do is that it is great for Tomos Williams - another experienced player to learn from.

"He is still developing his game. Rhys can play a part and create even more competition than there was."

Pivac also outlined why he selected Owen Williams as one of his thee fly-halves with the Gloucester 10 chosen alongside Dan Biggar and Jarrod Evans.

Williams provides an option at centre compared to Dragons half-back Sam Davies who is more a specialist 10.

"We know he can do both play and he has done it against the All Blacks at 12," said Pivac.

"We have young Jarrod (Evans) there who is battling a bit of a head knock, so Owen is there to cover 10 and if we need to 12."

Pivac also wants Dragons lock Cory Hill to double up as a flanker and mirror what Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes have done for England.

"Cory has been selected as a six/second row," said Pivac.

"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 having him in match squad of 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 (Dragons director of rugby) 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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