Gatland - Chance for Williams

Wales coach says flanker could yet reach 100 caps

Last Updated: 24/01/11 4:12pm

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Williams: two caps short of century

Williams: two caps short of century

Sky Bet

Wales coach Warren Gatland has told Martyn Williams that the door is not yet closed on his international career.

The 35-year-old openside flanker, who is just two caps short of reaching 100 for Wales, was not named in Gatland's 28-man squad for the RBS Six Nations announced on Sunday.

Instead he has opted for Sam Warburton and Josh Turnbull as his options in the position for this year's campaign, which Wales begin against England in Cardiff on February 4.

Gatland also refused to rule Gavin Henson out of the reckoning for the World Cup later this year.

The centre, who was also left out of the squad, recently started his comeback with Saracens after 20 months out of the game, although he is currently sidelined because of a calf muscle injury.

Asked if Williams might still have opportunities with Wales, head coach Gatland said: "Absolutely, there is always a chance for Martyn.

"I spoke to Martyn on the phone before the squad was announced. We knew what a quality player he is, and has been, a great servant to Wales.

"There are still one or two players that might be added to the squad later on, someone like George North, who is coming back from injury, and with Gavin, it has been stated he needs to play some rugby.

Nice touches

"He needs to get some games under his belt. I thought when he went on for Saracens against Leinster (eight days ago) before he pulled his calf muscle, I thought he showed a couple of nice touches.

"It would be good to see him get one or two more games under his belt, and he may come into contention, but not until he does that."

As for his prospective team selection to face England, Gatland added: "We are pretty close to what we think is a team that will take on England.

"I don't think there are going to be too many surprises in the England side. I think they are fairly predictable.

"We are quite clear of what team we think England will pick, and looking at our squad, they can fairly comfortably get close to picking our team as well.

"We may see a couple of contrasting styles on Friday week. We expect England to really take us on at scrummaging and drive a lot of lineouts.

"We've got to match them up-front, but we also want to play some rugby."

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