LONG-TERM Dragons target Owen Williams has left the door open for a move to Rodney Parade after heading for Japan.

The 28-year-old playmaker has signed for NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Osaka after spending the last three seasons with Gloucester.

Williams, from Ystradgynlais, moved to Leicester after catching the eye with the Scarlets before moving to Kingsholm on a bumper deal.

Former Dragons boss Bernard Jackman was interesting in bringing the fly-half/centre to Rodney Parade and the region are sure to be interested if he opts to return to Wales after his time in Japan.

And Williams revealed on the BBC's Scrum V podcast that it could be a short stay, with the lure of returning to the Test stage attractive.

South Wales Argus:

"I definitely want to play for Wales again," said Williams, who made his international debut against Tonga in 2017 and was used to bring creativity to midfield against Australia and New Zealand in that year's autumn internationals.

"You never know, it could be in a year or two years' time. It was meant to be a year's contract but it is down to 10 months now and it could potentially be nine depending on the visa.

"It is a short time and it could be when I come back I will be 29, so I will have a couple of years to go. But I also might love it out there and stay for a couple of years and I am open to that."

Williams cannot play for Wales this season under the Welsh Rugby Union's selection policy.

Players need to have 60 caps to remain eligible if they play outside Wales, a rule that means centre Hadleigh Parkes will also be unavailable to Wayne Pivac after moving from the Scarlets to Panasonic Wild Knights.

His switch to Japan would have opened the door for Williams with his ball-playing abilities but uncertainty amid the coronavirus crisis led to him accepting a deal with the Red Hurricanes, who are coached by his former Gloucester boss Johan Ackermann.

South Wales Argus:

"I spoke to a few regions and I was set on coming back to Wales after this Gloucester contract, because I wanted to play for Wales," said Williams.

"With everything that went on with the coronavirus, everything got pushed back a bit like signing contracts.

"With Japan contracts you had to wait a lot later and I probably would have got a deal with a region a lot sooner if not for coronavirus. Japan became an option and I just thought it is a great opportunity and the timing is right.

"It is something completely different and I have always wanted to experience things in my career. I had a chance at a young age to move to England and I loved it.

"I thought I now have an opportunity to move to Japan, especially with what is going on in the world at the moment, and thought it was the perfect time to go there for a year.

"There are no guarantees and I thought I might never get this opportunity again, so let's go for it.

"Financially there is also a lot more certainty in Japan than there is in Wales at the moment."

South Wales Argus:

Williams was set to win his fourth cap under Pivac after being named on the bench for the Six Nations clash against Ireland only to be denied by a hamstring injury in the warm-up at the Aviva Stadium.

The national coach played a role in Jonah Holmes' decision to swap Leicester for the Dragons in a bid to push for a place in the back three, while he was also influential in Nick Tompkins' year-long loan at Rodney Parade.

Pivac is also keen on Williams returning, whether it's in Newport, Cardiff, Swansea or Llanelli.

"I have spoken to Wayne a few times," said Williams. "We initially spoke in the Six Nations and he said if I wanted to play for Wales, it is better if I was playing in Wales and I agreed with him.

"We had a chat where he thought I would fit in best and which was the best region. Before I made my decision I let him and the coaches at the regions know why I made that choice.

"In fairness to Wayne, it is his job to persuade boys to come back to play because he wants the best playing in Wales but when I said I had made up my mind he was nice about it.

"He said let's stay in touch and we will speak a couple of months down the line."

The full Scrum V podcast: HERE