Williams piles on pressure as Wales look to spoil green party

时间:2019-11-16 责任编辑:佟鹛 来源:兴发娱乐平台 点击:171 次

Ireland's contention that they are treating this week as they would any other, even though victory at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday would deliver a second grand slam 61 years after the first, was yesterday challenged by the Wales and Lions flanker Martyn Williams.

The 33-year old, a member of Wales's 2005 and 2008 grand slam sides, said the pressure would be on Ireland because winning the title in defeat – Wales need to prevail by 13 points to retain the title – would be scant consolation.

"It will be grand slam or bust for them," said Williams. "When we played France last year we could have lost and still won the title but that was the last thing on our minds. All that mattered was the grand slam and it will be the same for Ireland on Saturday. They are saying that it is just like any other international week, but it isn't. As much as you try to put the grand slam to the back of your mind, every newspaper you pick up or sports programme you watch mentions it. As soon as you put your head on the pillow at night you start thinking about it. You can't help yourself. It can have a positive or a negative effect and we will find out which at the weekend.

"We were fortunate that in 2005 and last year our final match was in Cardiff and it does make a difference playing in front of your own supporters."

Williams said retaining the title would say more about Wales than their grand slam last year, when they found momentum after winning their first game at Twickenham. "We caught teams by surprise last season but they have been lying in wait this year," said Williams. "They have targeted us, raised their games and made it difficult: how often in recent years have England and France gone into matches intent on stopping us? If we win the title, it would be a measure of how far we have come as a side, especially with the points difference we have to make up.

"Ireland are a very strong side. They have injected some new blood and it is difficult to find a weakness. They deserve to be where they are, even if they have not set the world alight after showing what they could do with the ball in hand against France on the opening weekend."

Wales's coach, , said this week that his players disliked the Irish more than any other side, but Williams praised the men in green. "They have most of the Munster pack and have added players like Stephen Ferris, who has been immense, and Rob Kearney, while Brian O'Driscoll has been the stand-out player this Six Nations," he said. " It will be about whether they can handle the pressure."