By Neale Harvey
Owen Williams’ flexibility across the back-line can propel him into Six Nations starting contention for Wales, says Gloucester half-back partner Billy Burns.
Williams will do battle with Hadleigh Parkes and Ospreys youngster Owen Watkin for the No.12 jersey following the shock exclusion of 94-cap Red Dragons legend Jamie Roberts.
Burns believes Williams, below, also provides an option in his more accustomed fly-half position, telling The Rugby Paper: “Owen’s playing some great rugby and there’s no doubt he can challenge Rhys Priestland at fly-half.
“He thoroughly deserves his call-up and the fact he can play in different positions across the back-line means he’s got a great chance of forcing his way in.
“He’s a good playmaking option at 12, something Wales are looking at more, and his kicking ability makes him a great all-round player.”
While Williams and Ross Moriarty have been named by Wales, Gloucester’s lack of international call-ups elsewhere means they are in good shape to maintain their twin-pronged attack on silverware.
With a Challenge Cup quarter-final place booked and Gloucester riding high in the Premiership, Burns insists they will not choke.
He said: “We’re well aware of the way we’re looked at by the media and people outside the club who don’t take us seriously as a top four side, but this is what we’ve been striving for and we aim to stay there.
“We’ve got a great drive among ourselves to do the business and the lack of interest by England is not something we use as motivation; we’ll just try to play well and, if we do that, the right people will come looking.
“It’s great to have a fit squad and we’ve got two full XVs running at each other in training, so you’d struggle to work out who’s starting each week. We’ll go into our next block of Premiership games in very good shape.”
Fierce local rivals Bath are struggling, but Burns refuses to laud it over brother Freddie.
“Nothing’s won, it can all change quickly, so I’m not giving him any stick,” he joked.
By Neale Harvey