Six Nations: Wayne Pivac explains inclusion of four new England based players in Wales squad

Wayne Pivac has underlined the work that goes in to highlight and monitor players - including those based outside Wales.

Four of the five uncapped players named in Wales head coach Pivac's Guinness Six Nations squad are with English clubs.

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Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, Saracens' former England Saxons centre Nick Tompkins, Sale Sharks prop WillGriff John and Wasps lock Will Rowlands all made the cut for Pivac's first campaign at the helm since succeeding Warren Gatland.

And more than a quarter of the 38-man group play in the Gallagher Premiership, with Wales casting their net a considerable distance under former Scarlets boss Pivac's direction.

Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit has had a sensational season. Credit: PA

"Purely from an individual basis, I've been looking at players both inside and outside Wales for the last five or five and a half years for the Scarlets," Pivac said.

"In the last 18 months I've done it from a Welsh perspective, and I've been looking at them for a long time.

"I've been preparing teams to play against them and know their strengths and weaknesses.

"Tompkins has been on the Scarlets' radar for some time, as has Will Rowlands.

"I made contact with Nick a few months back and spoke with his agent. I've met with them both on a number of occasions, and it was apparent very, very early on that he was very interested (in potentially representing Wales).

"He knows his family ancestry and he's an intelligent bloke. I think what we had to do was talk to him about where we want to take the Welsh team, moving forward.

"He had some great questions for us about how we want to play the game, and what we thought of him in terms of his skill-set and strengths and weaknesses.

"There were very good rugby conversations that were had, and from my point of view we also asked why do you want to play for Wales? It was questions like that.

"He was very forthright and passionate about his rugby, and what he wants to achieve and what jersey he wants to wear.

"He's had a lot of Premiership experience now. He's had a lot of quality internationals around him for a while now, so walking into a changing room of internationals is not going to be daunting for him."

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Tompkins has a Wrexham-born grandmother, and Rowlands' father is Welsh, while there are also cases of high-profile players returning to Wales such as Scarlets-bound Saracens star Liam Williams and Toulon scrum-half Rhys Webb, who will rejoin Ospreys next term.

Credit: PA

"You are going to see over the next 12, 24 or 36 months more players who represent Wales, or being selected, slowly drifting back to Wales," Pivac added.

"That can only be good for the clubs and Wales."

Pivac, meanwhile, said that he is looking at Dragons lock Cory Hill as a player who could also fill the blindside flanker role.

"Cory has been selected as a six/second-row," Pivac said. "We've got a lot of second-rows and want Cory to be that Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Scott Barrett type of player.

"Depending on conditions and opposition, he can be considered as a six or a second-row, and certainly having him in a match-day 23 gives us more options and more cover."