WALES boss Wayne Pivac says that Lions scrum-half Rhys Webb is no longer an automatic pick for the Six Nations.

The 31-year-old has been named in the squad for the tournament ahead of Aled Davies but faces a battle to be selected for the opener against Italy on Saturday, February 1.

Webb, who is available because he will return to the Ospreys from Toulon next season, is battling with Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams for the 9 jersey.

The duo impressed at the World Cup and have carried that form into club rugby with the Scarlets and Cardiff Blues respectively.

Meanwhile Webb, who last featured in Test rugby against South Africa in December 2017, hasn't hit the heights of his form that earned Lions selection since heading to the Top 14.

South Wales Argus:

"We know what he's done in the past," said Pivac. "He's been a Lion, is a very capable player and 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. He needs to come in and prove himself again.

"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."

Dragons fly-half Sam Davies has been in fine form since heading east from the Ospreys and came off the bench against the Barbarians.

However, it was Gloucester's Owen Williams that was picked to join Dan Biggar and Jarrod Evans in the squad.

The former Scarlet has only just returned from injury but Pivac has pointed to the three-times capped playmaker's ability to slot into midfield.

"We know he can do both," said the head coach. "He has done it against the All Blacks at 12.

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

Meanwhile, Pivac is down to two specialist looseheads for the tournament opener after Saracens prop Rhys Carre was given a three-week ban.

The 21-year-old faced a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday after being sent off by referee Alexandre Ruiz four minutes into the Heineken Champions Cup win against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

He was dismissed for tackling full-back Dan Evans in a dangerous manner and will now miss Wales' clash with Italy in Cardiff on Saturday, February 1.

A statement issued on behalf of the independent disciplinary committee read: "The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Carre had made contact with Evans' head in a dangerous manner.

"It then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby's sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.

"There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player's guilty plea, clear disciplinary record and expression of remorse, the committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50 per cent before imposing a three-week suspension."

Carre has won six Wales caps with his starting debut against Ireland in August 2019 followed by five 2019 World Cup replacement appearances in Japan.

The strong-carrying front rower, who left Cardiff Blues for Sarries last summer, is free to face Ireland in round two.

That leaves Wyn Jones and Rob Evans as Pivac's picks for Italy after he left Ospreys loosehead Nicky Smith, who has won 35 caps, out of his Six Nations squad.