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Williams: Narrow win will benefit us

Liam Williams believes Wales' new caps will have gained far more from Saturday's marginal victory over Japan than from a comfortable win.

The RBS 6 Nations champions handed out seven new caps in the opening game of what is regarded as a development tour with so many regular starters with the British and Irish Lions. However, they were made to work hard before finally overcoming an ambitious and well-drilled Japan team 22-18 in Osaka.

Williams said: "We are a fairly young squad with a number of new caps making their first appearance at this level. To come up against Japan without that many games as a team was tough, but the boys pulled through in the end."

He added: "You learn more from hard games like that when you're under pressure, away from home and playing those conditions than a 60-point win. That experience will stand everyone in good stead.

"But we know we need to improve all aspects of the game. There were a couple of areas we didn't play too well and, once we have sat down and examined the video, we'll take it from there."

Wales trailed 11-6 at half-time, although the deficit could have been far greater after Japan squandered attacking chances as well as three kicks at goal, before Harry Robinson responded with a try.

Williams said: "The game plan didn't go too well in the first half. It wasn't really working so we had a chat at half-time and changed the game plan. We just mixed it up a bit and pulled through in the second half. The boys really started to put their hands up in the second half and we showed character to dig in to come away with the win."

Wales have arrived in Tokyo, where conditions are expected to be a few degrees cooler than Osaka for next Saturday's second and final Test of their tour, aiming to produce a much-improved display against a team ranked 15th in the world.

Williams added: "Japan played really well. They kicked a lot more than we thought and really fought hard to put us under a lot of pressure. They came out with a very good game-plan, stuck to it and played a wide expansive game and stuck us under the cosh, so it was a bit nervous at the end.

"The heat is a factor but the boys aren't concentrating on that so much, to be honest. We don't dwell on it and are just dealing with it as best we can. We are just happy to get the win, but this is only half-time as we have to do a job next weekend as well."


From Belfast Telegraph