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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Wales retain hope of having Liam Williams at fullback for clash with Ireland

The fullback was forced off with a shoulder injury against Scotland and has yet to take a full part in training.

Liam Williams helped off the field after being run down by Allan Dell.
Liam Williams helped off the field after being run down by Allan Dell.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

WALES FULLBACK LIAM Williams remains in contention for Saturday’s Grand Slam bid against Ireland in Cardiff, despite his early withdrawal during the win over Scotland.

The Saracens star suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of the hard-fought win in Murrayfield, but today forwards coach Robin McBryde signaled the inspirational back is on track to face the reigning champions. Even though he has not yet entered full training.

“He just took a little bit of a stinger on his shoulder,” said McBryde.

“He is improving. I daresay if he had been a front-row forward he would have stayed on.

“His return to training is gradual and there has been no contact and we will gradually increase that to see how he is but everything is moving in the right direction at the moment.

“He is playing so well at the moment. He is solid under the high ball and playing at his best at the moment.”

As ever, Johnny Sexton and his ability to control a Test will form a key part of preparations Wales’ defence and McBryde’s pack.

“It is important we put a number of their decision makers under pressure. The spine of their team is a very strong one and you can’t single out one individual,” said the coach when asked if Wales would target Sexton.

Having said that, Johnny is very influential on the game as any world-class 10 is. We have to go about our work legally and ask questions of them.”

While Wales are closing in on Ireland and their second-place berth in the World Rugby rankings, McBryde referred to Schmidt’s men as ‘arguably the best side’ in the world in order to sharpen minds for the task at hand.

“New Zealand have not played for a while but I would say they (Ireland) are the team to beat at the moment.”

He added: “The players are familiar with each other having been on numerous British and Irish Lions tours together. With that familiarity there is a respect for each other and it brings an extra edge.

“It is a lot more personal when you want to beat the guy you know and that will be the case on Saturday. There will be lot of personal battles and scores to settle and hopefully we will have some rugby being played as well

“Both teams are used to playing on the big stage when something is at stake and once you have tasted success you know there is no secret formula to it.

“It will be no different on Saturday.”

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Sean Farrell

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