HAD things gone to plan in the summer, Rhodri Williams could have been part of a seven-strong Dragons contingent watching a derby clash in Cardiff rather than playing in it.

After seven years in the international wilderness, the scrum-half earned a Wales call-up thanks to his form in the run-in.

Williams linked up with Wayne Pivac’s squad, did the preparations for the Tests against Canada and Argentina, was ready to fight for a fourth cap but then then struggled with a shoulder injury.

The 28-year-old landed heavily on his left side when diving for the corner against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade in the Rainbow Cup but recovered to feature in the season finale against Leinster in Dublin.

Alas, he struggled with his range of movement on linking up with Wales and scans revealed that he had a minor issue.

The decision was made to have an operation so that he could recover over the summer and feature from the off this season.

South Wales Argus: LIVELY: Dragons scrum-half Rhodri WilliamsLIVELY: Dragons scrum-half Rhodri Williams

“It wasn't great timing but we sat down after seeing the specialist and it was more beneficial to get the surgery done ASAP,” said Williams, whose last Wales appearance was against Scotland in the 2014 Six Nations.

“I had good time then through the off season to get it sorted and didn’t miss any league games.

“Short-term timing, not great. Long-term timing, quite good to get it sorted and build into the season.

“That's professional sport, you just have to take it as it comes. I have been quite fortunate in my career because that was the first surgery that I've ever had while some players have operations quite often.

“It was unfortunate and I was gutted, but it's sorted now and it's a case of putting my hand up again.”

Williams has played in all four games but missed out on the Wales squad, Pivac opting to stick with the established trio of Tomos Williams, Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy.

Glass-half-full after the summer frustration – at least the Dragons man knows he is on the radar.

South Wales Argus: Rhodri Williams on the snipe against LeinsterRhodri Williams on the snipe against Leinster

“I am in their thoughts, that's what I took from it,” he said. “It was nice to speak to Wayne and be around camp, picking up calls and learning how they are looking at the game and their strategies.

“It was good to have that experience even though I didn’t have that long in camp. It gives me confidence to push on.

“My main goal was to get the should right and all I can do now is put in the performances and hopefully push for a place in the future.”

On that front, Williams is prospering from renewing his combination with Gonzalo Bertranou, sharing the starts with the Argentina scrum-half.

The Pumas international arrived in February and brought the best out of his rival.

“I have learnt a lot from him, he is very good at getting the ball away quickly and his running lines at rucks,” said Williams.

“I’ve picked up some of the aspects of his game and it's good to be kept on your toes.”

It’s Williams that gets the start in Cardiff this evening and he knows the Dragons will need to react more sharply.

They had the better of the first half against the Stormers last week only to then be dominated in the second when beaten 24-10.

“We looked good in the first half but need to adapt,” he said. “You can have a plan but a team can present different pictures.

“Cardiff are a physical side and will slow the ball down, so we need to be on the money to take our game to them.”