Leicester director Richard Cockerill backs Owen Williams for Wales call-up

Fly-half should go on tour of South Africa this summer

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has urged Wales to pick Owen Williams for their summer tour to South Africa.

Williams has been the Tigers' first choice fly-half for the past four matches and has been selected ahead of Toulouse-bound club captain Toby Flood.

Cockerill has indicated the uncapped 22-year-old will be retained for Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Clermont and has urged Wales coach Warren Gatland to take a close look at him.

"Owen's been playing well. Ten per cent of picking him is because we're looking at the future, but we've also played better with him at 10. He's being picked on form," Cockerill said.

"Owen's starting as our number one now and is keeping a player with 60 England caps on the bench.

"When we signed Owen we told him that if he's better than the blokes we've got, he'll play. And he's been better so he's played.

"Owen is playing in a very good side and is playing at the top end of the game. He's the only Welsh 10 playing in the Heineken quarters.

"You'd like to think he'd get an opportunity for Wales if he keeps playing like he is."

Clermont are overwhelming favourites to defeat Leicester having amassed 74 consecutive victories at the Stade Marcel Michelin in a sequence dating back to 2009.

But Cockerill insists the Tigers will not be intimidated by the French giants.

"We're going there with the mindset that it's a great opportunity for us," Cockerill said.

"It's probably the toughest place to go for a quarter final, but it gives us the chance to make some history with their home record.

"We'll throw everything at them and see where we get to. If we win it would be a huge result in the history of the club.

"With a record like theirs sometimes you worry more about not losing than winning, getting through it rather than performing.

"Montpellier is the top team in the Top 14 and we beat them home and away in the pool stages. Maybe that's a good omen for us."

PA

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