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Blues star ready for criticism

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Mar 2010

Cardiff Blues veteran Martyn Williams has admitted he and his Wales team-mates expect to face plenty of criticism following Saturday’s Six Nations defeat to Ireland.

Wales were beaten 27-12 by their Celtic cousins at Croke Park to leave the 2008 Champs with just one win from their first four tournament games.

And Williams, who stood in for the injured Ryan Jones as Wales skipper against Brian O’Driscoll and co, admits that negative press goes with the territory when it comes to top-level sport.

“It is always the case that you face criticism, especially when you are losing,” said Williams, who became his country’s most-capped forward with his 95th appearance at the weekend. 

“It is part and parcel of playing international rugby and it is never going to be a smooth ride. 

“You just have to take it on the chin and cope with it as best you can. 

“Emotions are always quite high in the immediate aftermath of a defeat and it is easy sometimes to throw your toys out of the pram. 

“Once you have assessed things in the cold light of day, things can seem calmer.” 

Williams also admitted that he would do things differently in Dublin if given the chance.

As captain for the day, Williams selected to take an attacking scrum early in the second half rather than pick up three points through a simple kick at goal.

His reasoning at the time seemed sound enough: Wales were trailing 16-6 but had were putting concerted pressure on the Irish line, with Gareth Delve being brought down just short in the preceding passage of play.

Add in the fact that Wales had arguably been the dominant force in the scrummage and the decision to look for five points or seven seems entirely justified.

Unfortunately for Williams and for Wales, things didn’t work out as planned.

After being re-set three times, the fourth scrum was won by Ireland, who were soon being awarded a penalty of their own down the other end of the field.

Instead of being just 16-13 down as Williams had hoped, Wales were suddenly trailing 19-6 and on their way to defeat.
“If I had the choice again I would probably go for the points,” added Williams.

“But sometimes when you are on the field you get a vibe for these things and we were going well in the scrum. 

“It was one lapse of concentration in the scrum from our eight. 

“Instead of scoring and only being behind 16-13, Ireland cleared their lines and we were 19-6 down. 

“It was the turning point and just another critical moment when chances have passed us by during the Six Nations.”