Wales need big wins says Williams

Lions flanker Martyn Williams believes Welsh rugby continues to increase its pool of international-class players. [more]

Wales need big wins says Williams

Lions flanker Martyn Williams believes Welsh rugby continues to increase its pool of international-class players.

The triple British & Irish Lions tourist has been at the top of the national game since 1996 and the veteran flanker has little doubt that Welsh rugby is in its most-promising state for some time.

Warren Gatland’s men provided 12 players to Ian McGeechan’s Lions squad that toured South Africa, with 10 of those featuring in the three-match Test series against the Springboks.

However, the 34-year-old knows that strength-in-depth will mean very little to the country’s passionate supporters unless the national side can consistently produce winning performances against the world’s top teams.

Wales secured a comfortable victory over Argentina last weekend but defeat to New Zealand and a below-par performance against Samoa means there is plenty riding on Saturday’s clash with Australia in their final Test match of the year.

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"Our strength in depth is the strongest it has been for a number of years, but we’ve got to back that up with a performance against Australia," said Williams.

"If we don’t win next Saturday, it is going to be a disappointing autumn, there is no doubt about that. It’s a big game for both teams.”

Williams believes the 74,500 fans fortunate enough to have a ticket for the Cardiff showdown will be watching what should be an exciting, free-flowing game between two sides with similarly positive outlooks.

Wales have themselves earned a reputation for producing an exciting brand of rugby and, while the Wallabies may have been on the wrong end of a one-point defeat to Scotland last time out, Williams doesn’t expect his opponents to change their own attacking style ahead of Saturday’s encounter. 

"Wales and Australia play similar styles – we both try to play expansively,” added Williams.

“They are normally good games too, with a high ball-in-play time and a lot of attacking rugby. And recently, we’ve always seemed to play them last up after we have been together for a month during the autumn and started hitting our straps. 

“Australia are so innovative as a side. They are a great team to watch, and they can run at you from anywhere. You cannot switch off. I don’t think it is a game that is going to be won on penalty kicks."

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