Williams targets Ireland scalp

Stand-in skipper calls for patience in Dublin

Last Updated: 10/03/10 6:48pm

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Williams: Captaincy role

Williams: Captaincy role

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Wales flanker Martyn Williams has called for calm as he prepares to lead the players into battle against Ireland on Saturday.

"We've got a game-plan for Saturday and, if we put that in place, I am sure we will cause Ireland problems."
Martyn Williams Quotes of the week

The veteran forward will assume the captaincy in Dublin after first-choice captain Ryan Jones was sidelined by a calf muscle injury.

The match is Williams' 95th cap - a new record for a Wales forward - and the seventh time he has led his country.

However, the Cardiff Blues man faces a tough task if he is to place Wales' rollercoaster RBS Six Nations campaign back on an upward curve.

Defeats to England and France, and a narrow victory over Scotland sandwiched in between, have left their Championship bid in tatters ahead of the trip to the Emerald Isle.

Problems

But Williams insists: "I don't think we are playing badly, but we haven't helped ourselves, particularly early on in games, which is well-documented.

"If we play with a little bit of control early on, we are confident we can cause sides problems.

"It is about playing in the right areas, whereas I felt in the first couple of games we maybe tried to score every time we had the ball.

"You have got to be patient at international level because defences are so good.

"We've got a game-plan for Saturday and, if we put that in place, I am sure we will cause Ireland problems."

Williams is among seven survivors from the Wales starting line-up that beat Ireland 16-12 at Croke Park two years ago.

The win secured a Triple Crown - Wales then clinched the Six Nations title and Grand Slam a week later by defeating France - while another success on Saturday would dash Irish Triple Crown hopes.

Head coach Gatland has made minimal changes for Saturday's showdown - one switch in each row of the scrum, including number eight Gareth Delve's call-up for Jones - although some pundits thought Williams might have struggled to keep his place.

Influence

"When I came out of retirement a couple of years ago, I was warned by a very experienced player, 'as soon as you have a bad game when you are over 30, people will automatically call for you to be dropped and say there needs to be a change,"' he added.

"So I knew it was only a matter of time before it was going to happen to me. It is water off a duck's back, really.

"People say they want change and that's fair enough, it is just one of those things. As a player, you cannot let that influence you in any way or wear you down.

"You've just got to concentrate on going out and doing the best you can.

"I was very happy with the way I played against England, I thought it went really well.

"I didn't have a good game against Scotland, particularly in the first-half, but after the France match it was very difficult to pick out anyone and say they had a bad game.

"I don't think my form has been that bad, to be honest with you. Obviously, a lot of people do, but provided my team-mates and the coaches are happy that is the main thing."

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