JJ Williams: "I don't think the Welsh players fear going to Twickenham"

Wales travel to London this weekend in the 6 Nations Championship

BY Simon Maguire 21:18 Tuesday 6 February 2018, 21:18 6 Feb 2018

Wales's Steff Evans scores their fourth try. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Wales and Lions legend JJ Williams joined Tuesday's Off the Ball to reflect on the opening weekend of 6 Nations action. 

Warren Gatland's side put Scotland to the sword with a 34-7 win in Cardiff despite the visitors arriving as dark horses for the tournament. 

Williams was full of praise for Wales' evolution under Gatland, telling Joe Molloy: "First of all, when you talk about 'Warren-ball' - even though it wasn't popular in Wales at all because we like open, flair rugby - it was quite successful. 

"They did win two Grand Slams a few years back so it was successful but now we wanted to change it and we didn't have the people to do it, to play an open style of rugby. 

"The Llanelli team adopted that style where their coach, Wayne Pivac and Stephen Jones, the ex-Welsh out-half played a big part in the Llanelli revival, the Scarlets revival - throwing the ball around willy-nilly as he did when he was a player. 

"And, I must say also, I've been told by the Llanelli coaches that Gatland and Howley have been down there and asking the coaches of the regions could they improve the passing skills of the forwards throughout Wales. 

"So they've been aware of this for some time since they've come back from New Zealand two years ago where we were beaten 3-0 in a series and they made that one point to the coaches and the Scarlets' coaches have taken that on board and, of course, most of the Welsh forwards come from the Scarlets anyway so it's that style of the rugby has improved enormously - the passing skills of the welsh forwards.

"So, it was obvious that we were going to adopt the Scarlets' style with 10 players in there and rightly so as they are on-form. The other regions aren't on-form so Howley just went along with it. 

"He's been under a lot of pressure the last few years because he's not much of a smiler - he's a very serious boy and he takes criticism very heavily himself but he is a good coach. He's a hard working boy and I hope now someone will give him a little bit of praise because of the rugby we're playing," he added. 

Looking ahead to the clash with England this weekend, he said: "Since you bring up Twickenham - we knocked them out of the World Cup a couple of years back up in Twickenham when they were all over us but we beat them in the final few minutes of the game so we're not afraid of going to Twickenham. 

"We won up there quite often over the last dozen or so years so no, I don't think the Welsh players fear going to Twickenham!"

The full discussion can be heard here:

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