Scarlets coach Jones plays up Williams as international honours approach

Guinness PRO12 Editor

14 Feb 2012


Scarlets skills coach Mark Jones insists Liam Williams will be fully deserving of his Wales debut should it come to fruition next week having proved his worth in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season.

The 20-year-old made the most of the absence of the likes of Scarlets teammates George North and Jonathan Davies for the World Cup with Wales to stake a claim for regular rugby with the Welsh region.

Williams started he is first game of the season against Connacht in September, going on to make nine further appearances in all competitions before earning international recognition.

That came in the form of being announced in the 28-man Wales squad for their one-off friendly with Australia at the Millennium Stadium – although the call for the match-day 22 never actually came.

Still Williams returned to Scarlets and four games later he was once again called upon by Wales coach Warren Gatland as part of his 35-man training squad for the RBS 6 Nations.

A familiar tale ensued with Williams not needed for either of Wales’ wins over Ireland and then Scotland however that might not be the case for much longer with an injury cloud hanging over North.

Williams could be handed his debut against England on February 25 if North’s ankle injury is deemed too serious to play and Scarlets skills coach Jones admits it will be fully justified.

“It’s great to see exciting new talent like Liam Williams taking their opportunities so well at regional level and credit to him as a player and person that he has shown the commitment and drive to work hard for the Scarlets shirt this season,” said Jones, who won 47 caps for Wales.

“He is a brave player and is really committed on the field and he has shown his ability for us this season both on the wing and at full-back.

“It is great that he is having the experience of the national squad set-up as well now after such a short time with us in the Scarlets senior squad.

“He knows he has got a lot to learn still but goes about his work with a very professional head and gets stuck into training and wants to learn and improve.

“He has a great attitude and spirit, like all our younger players have at the Scarlets and they really energise and push the whole squad forward

“And the fact we have a lot of competition now in this group really gets the best out of our players when we are in training and preparing for games."