RHODRI Williams is eyeing a Wales recall in World Cup year – but knows he needs to shine at 9 for the Dragons first.

The 25-year-old has headed for Rodney Parade after two seasons in Bristol with the ultimate aim of a return to the Test stage.

Williams won three caps as a replacement when playing for the Scarlets in 2013/14, playing against Tonga and Australia in the autumn and then scoring a first Test try in the Six Nations win against Scotland in Cardiff.

However, if he had stayed in the west country then he would not have been available for Warren Gatland at Japan 2019.

The new 60-cap rule has led to a vacancy at 9 for Wales because of Rhys Webb’s move to Toulon and Williams is now a contender – if he produces the goods in Newport.

“My biggest aim is to become first choice here, I can’t take things for granted and have to put the work in at the gym and on the field to get my spot,” said Williams, who will battle with Tavis Knoyle, Rhodri Davies and Dan Babos for the 9 jersey.

“But I am ambitious and want to push on for a Welsh spot. That wasn’t possible being over the bridge, so the 60-cap rule is beneficial for bringing players back and made my mind up for me.

“It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen but in 10 or 20 years I didn’t want to regret a decision of staying there. By coming back, it might not work but there is no regret.

“It’s black and white, if you stay there then you can’t get picked no matter how well you are playing. There is clarity.

“I wasn’t happy being on three caps – I want more and have to give it a go.

"A few years down the line I might not have another cap and it might not have worked, but at least I will have given it a go, been ambitious and tried it.”

Williams’ hopes may be boosted by the absence of Webb but Wales’ trio of Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams and Aled Davies all enjoyed strong summers against South Africa and Argentina.

“It’s very tough, they all had good summer tours and then you have the standard of Lloyd (Williams), who is not far off,” he said.

“There are plenty of high-quality scrum-halves, so I have to concentrate on the Dragons first and get my spot here rather than thinking too far ahead.

“It’s World Cup year but if I am not playing for the Dragons then I will be watching the World Cup from the stands.”

Williams has returned to Wales after becoming a popular figure at Ashton Gate thanks to his energy and eye for the try line.

The former Scarlet, who was named in the Championship dream team for 2017/18, believes he has come back an improved player.

“I’d dropped down the pecking order at the Scarlets and wanted to show what I could do,” he said. “It was a change of scenery and experience of playing in a different country. It was very beneficial.

“As a scrum-half you are a key part of the game and if you are not getting the game time I don’t think that you can improve and work on areas.

“In the Championship it was about game management with big heavy packs and putting them in the right areas. It was confidence from playing as well.

“I would like to say I am wiser with a better understanding of the game. Parts of my game have strengthened and generally I am in a better place.”