Wednesday 25 April 2018

High performance centre gives Munster extra edge - Williams

Munster's Duncan Williams. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Munster's Duncan Williams. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Munster scrum-half Duncan Williams is hoping that the province's new high performance centre can immediately drive the standards up in the province.

For the first time this week, the squad was able to review a Pro12 game together at their new base, which means there is no more conference calls or long trips to a neutral venue to sift through game footage.

Their determined win over Scarlets meant a pleasant introduction to their new surroundings on Monday, but Williams thinks that extra personal touch can prove crucial for the team going forward.

"We are all in one centre now, so that helps. We all come in on Monday and do a review, where as previously we might have had to have done that over Skype or iChat, or go to Mitchelstown in the afternoon.

"Now we are all just in the one room, you get that face-to-face contact and you get that time to thrash things out and it has been good. It has helped. You get that extra face time with other players day to day and it is the same with the coaches. It is a big benefit for us and it will be this season," said Williams.

Williams, 30, was in the thick of the action last weekend and he played crucial roles in the team's two tries which were claimed by James Cronin and Ronan O'Mahony. He also put in a strong performance with the boot for Rassie Erasmus's side especially in the opening action, when the home side turned up the pressure early on.

And despite looking like they did well to avoid the concession of a try, Williams insists Munster were cool in defence and he expects more of the same this Friday in Cork against Cardiff Blues. "It may seem that we were a little stretched, but we were all perfectly calm out there, we knew what we were doing and we were hunting them to the touchline and making our tackles.

"We made them commit men to the ruck and then we re-set off of that and made sure we had line speed. It might not have looked too comfortable, but we were all comfortable out there.

"I was watching Cardiff's game in the airport before we came home the other night. They were very impressive. They have a very good back-rows, two very good centres.

"They signed Steve Shingler from the Scarlets, he is an impressive 10, so we expect nothing different from them. They are a good team and they will bring it to us at the weekend.

"And we all know Nick (Williams) very well. He was here for a while. He went to Zebre and then back to Ulster. It is always a good clash against him, so we are looking forward to seeing him back in Cork."

Cardiff Blues hope to have wing Alex Cuthbert back after injury for Friday. He has not played since March because of heel and knee injuries, missing Wales' tour of New Zealand.

Wales captain Sam Warburton and forward Josh Turnbull return after sitting out the 34-16 win over Edinburgh and scrum-half Lloyd Williams may be involved. "The players we have available next week shows what we are slowly building," coach Danny Wilson said.

Williams won the man of the match award against Edinburgh while Wales utility back Matthew Morgan made his debut off the bench.

Elsewhere, Newport Gwent Dragons wing Aled Brew has left the Welsh region to join Premiership side Bath on trial until the end of the year.

The 30-year-old has moved in a bid to resurrect his career, having made only two first-team appearances for Dragons in the 2015-16 season.

According to the Welsh outfit, Brew - who has won nine caps for his country - has left them "by mutual consent" and pointed out that he had struggled with injury since he rejoined them from Biarritz.

Irish Independent

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