Friday 17 August 2018

'He's 35 now' - Welsh legend Shane Williams has identified Isa Nacewa as the Leinster weak link

Shane Williams (inset) wants the Scarlets to target Isa Nacewa
Shane Williams (inset) wants the Scarlets to target Isa Nacewa
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Wales legend Shane Williams believes Scarlets should expose Isa Nacewa defensively during their Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

Leinster are 1/5 favourites this weekend but were turned over by Wayne Pivac's men in their Guinness PRO12 semi last season and if they want a repeat result they must go after Nacewa, according to Williams.

"Isa Nacewa is a wonderful player – someone I faced numerous times during my career – but he’s 35 now and more used to playing full-back or wing than centre," Williams wrote in The Rugby Paper.

"Robbie Henshaw’s injury means Nacewa is likely to start in the blue 12 jersey and while he is a top-class operator, the Scarlets must look to exploit him in that position.

"In Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams the Scarlets have two men in peak form. Their challenge is to tie in Nacewa, target him with some initial carries, and then work off that platform.

"If I was Wayne, I’d tell my backs to try and isolate Nacewa in defence – initially with some brute power – and then later in the game, by getting outside him and doing him for pace.

"Should the Scarlets manage that, then the Leinster back three will be forced to cut inside and the likes of Steffan Evans and Leigh Halfpenny will have plenty of joy and more space to work in."

Williams went on to say that keeping Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny at 10 and 15 respectively was pivotal to the Welsh side's hopes and expects them to cause a shock if they play with abandon.

"Scarlets might not have the strength in depth Leinster can boast, but I’m confident they will go out and win," he added.

"It will be tight and it won’t be easy, but the underdog tag will suit the Welsh region and so long as they don’t go into their shell, they can come out on top."

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