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Williams focused on job in hand

Liam Williams insists there is "no pressure" on Wales when they target a memorable comeback triumph in this season's RBS 6 Nations title race.

Just six weeks after losing at home to England following a second-half implosion when they failed to score a point, Wales could be crowned Six Nations champions for the third time in four years on Saturday.

The odds, though, are against them, given their inferior points difference compared with leaders England and second-placed Ireland.

Wales, realistically, need to secure a landslide win against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in the opening game of so-called Super Saturday, and hope it is enough, but a victory of any description would suffice if France topple England at Twickenham and Scotland see off Murrayfield visitors Ireland.

Wales did it the hard way two years ago, being beaten by Ireland before reeling off successive victories over France, Italy and Scotland, then crushing England by a record-breaking 30-3 scoreline to take the title.

"The first priority for us is to get the win," Wales wing Williams said.

"Hopefully, we will be able to stick some points on them in the second-half, but before we do anything we need to come out on the right side of the scoreboard.

"In the first-half, we will kick our goals, then after the break we will see if it's okay to open up.

"There is no pressure on us. We are on first to play, we will go out there, do the business and then sit back and watch the other matches.

"It would be huge (to win the title) for Wales, heading towards the World Cup.

"But we know a lot of things need to happen for that to come to pass. All we can do is try to do our bit against Italy, and then keep our fingers crossed."

Wales put themselves in the silverware mix courtesy of a stunning win against Ireland last weekend, when their stirring defensive performance was highlighted by Williams and company setting a new Six Nations record of 250 tackles.

Attacking-wise, Wales have scored five tries in four games - all by backs, but none from wings Williams and George North - with full-back Leigh Halfpenny contributing more than 50 of their points through his precision goal-kicking.

"We haven't received much ball in attack, but there is still a lot to do, such as taking high balls, chasing kicks, making tackles and clearing out at rucks," Williams added.

"All of that helps the side. Even though we haven't been running with ball in hand that much, we've still been kept busy.

"It would be nice for one of us (wings) to get on the score-sheet, but it isn't about me or George getting across the line. It's about the team.

"It doesn't matter who is scoring, as long as the team are winning, and the only thing that matters this Saturday is getting the job done as a side."

Williams has experienced a rollercoaster last nine months in Test rugby, a period that started with him conceding the late penalty try that meant Wales were denied a famous away victory over South Africa when referee Steve Walsh ruled he had shoulder-charged an opponent.

But from that low, the 23-year-old has become a consistent starter in head coach Warren Gatland's team, being preferred to British and Irish Lion Alex Cuthbert and starting Wales' last three Six Nations games.

"I made a bad start to the season, with two yellow cards (playing for the Scarlets) against Ulster in the opening game, and there was the South Africa tour last year," he said.

"I am trying to handle certain situations differently. Flashpoints happen in every game, and you just have to do your best and make sure you don't give away penalties, or whatever.

"I tell myself to keep my body in the oven and my head in the freezer.

"I had some flak on social media (after South Africa). Some people didn't want me to be picked in a red shirt again, when all I did was try as hard as I could to save a try and help my country beat South Africa.

"I had quite a lot of stick, but it goes in one ear and out the other. On Twitter, I just blocked the people who were having a go.

"It was rubbish, really, and you kind of think you don't need it. I just hope they are happy that I've started four out of five games in this Six Nations."


From Belfast Telegraph