Nick Heath spoke to Shane Williams this week for his views on the draw with Fiji last week, and how Wales will face up to the All Blacks this weekend.
He was adamant that the Welsh performance was just a blip on an otherwise upward trend in terms of performance, and that they are desperate to put things right against New Zealand.
“It was obviously disappointing as a spectator to watch that game. It wasn’t the most spectacular game I’ve ever watched, but full credit to Fiji, they came and defended very well. They were very physical and certainly brought the game we expected – they didn’t disappoint us there.”
Nevertheless, he suggested that Wales only had themselves to blame, noting that “it was a game full of errors, we weren’t creative enough and we looked nervous out there. I don’t know if we were looking ahead to the New Zealand game a little bit too early perhaps. It should have been a game we should have won and won comfortably, but it wasn’t the performance we all expected.”
“I thought we’d turned a corner. We didn’t play particularly well against Australia, but we still could have won the game. South Africa I thought was a great performance by the guys, and certainly a game we should have won, and then almost taking a step back again having quite a poor performance against Fiji. we just let ourselves down a bit.”
“Hopefully it is just a glitch and we can start progressing again against New Zealand. It’s a massive game for us. Their form says they are the best in the world and they haven’t seemed to have had any problems over here on tour. It’s a big game for the guys and I’m just hoping that they can perform like we know they can perform.”
“Confidence-wise, the game on Friday certainly didn’t help the boys, but there’s enough character in the squad to say ‘look, that was a one-off, it’s not going to happen again, let’s have a great performance against New Zealand.'”
“If we play to our potential and are at the top of our game, we’ve got a good chance of beating New Zealand. If we don’t, we’ve got a good chance of losing the game comfortably as well. The second half against Ireland, they were quite deadly, so you really can’t leave New Zealand in the game, you have to put them under the sword for 80 minutes. We haven’t had an 80-minute performance for a long time, but hopefully Saturday will be the day.”
“I just want the guys to go out there, get the tactics right and really take New Zealand on and don’t be intimidated by them If you do that, then you’ll come off second best.”
Welsh International Shane Williams was speaking at Cardigan RFC at the launch of RBS RugbyForce 2011 in Wales. RBS RugbyForce can help clubs across the UK improve their facilities and offer them on-line guidance and tools to help them co-ordinate a community-wide effort to give the club a “make-over”.
To hear more from Shane Williams, listen to this week’s edition of The Rugby Blog Podcast, online and on iTunes every Thursday morning.