Leicester Tigers confident Owen Williams will stay in England

Owen Williams
Owen Williams was tipped to make his Wales debut on the summer tour of South Africa, but missed out because he was suspended

Leicester are confident they can keep fly-half Owen Williams at Welford Road despite interest from the Scarlets.

The Welsh region's coach Wayne Pivac said he would be keen for the 22-year-old Welshman to return to the team he left for the Tigers in 2013.

But Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes Williams would be better served by staying in England.

"I am very confident we'll be able to do a deal to keep Owen here. He's more than happy to stay," Cockerill said.

The former England hooker also insists playing for Leicester should not impede Williams' ambition to play for Wales.

"We are very, very far down the road in getting to the point when he is happy to do a deal with us," added Cockerill.

"The reality is if you are good enough, you will play for your country. I want Owen to play for Wales. He can play for Wales playing for this club."

Cockerill preferred Williams to now-departed England fly-half Toby Flood last season and this term has selected him ahead of another England No.10, Freddie Burns, following his arrival from Gloucester.

And the Welshman underlined his credentials by scoring 20 points in a fine European Champions Cup win over Toulon last weekend.

The Wales Under-20 fly-half had been tipped to win his first senior cap last June on the tour to South Africa, but a suspension prevented Williams from being named in the squad.

"The best thing for Owen is to stay here and play in this team," said Cockerill.

"And as he said to me after the game, he will never play in an occasion like he had on Sunday (against Toulon) if he leaves this club and goes back to the regions. Those occasions are special.

"With respect to the regions, 24,000 people against the European champions, it makes perfect sense for a young man who is still developing to play for this team."