Women's Six Nations: Rowland Phillips explains Sian Williams omission

Sian Williams
Sian Williams (L) played for UK Armed Forces against Wales Women in November, 2016
Women's Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Saturday, 4 February Venue: Stadio Comunale Pacifico Carotti, Iesi Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app..

Wales Women coach Rowland Phillips says omitting Sian Williams from his Six Nations squad underlines the strength of the playing staff.

Ex-captain Williams, 26, is Wales' first professional woman player.

Phillips said he had spoken to the Worcester/Newport Gwent Dragons back-rower and asked her to work on elements of her game.

"What you need to focus on with that is the quality that we have developed now within Wales," said Phillips.

"The back row, in any country and any age group, is always going to be the most competitive.

"I met with Sian and it wasn't a case of 'not good enough, ta-ta'.

"It was a case of certain things I wanted her to work on.

"She's certainly someone who is very focused and determined and I'm convinced she will deliver what we're asking from her.

"At this point now the girls selected were just a little bit in front, and it's our responsibility as coaches to develop everybody within this environment and make sure selection becomes harder.

"And it was hard and that's testimony to quality of the group."

Williams, 26, made her Wales debut in 2011 and has made 23 appearances for Wales.

In February 2016 she was granted athlete status by the RAF, making her a full-time professional rugby player, the first in Wales to achieve that status.

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