Williams: Wales must step up
Wales flanker Martyn Williams is determined to prove himself after maintaining his spot in the starting XV to face France.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 24/02/10 5:27pm
Wales flanker Martyn Williams is determined to prove himself after maintaining his spot in the starting XV for Friday's RBS Six Nations clash against title favourites France.
Coach Warren Gatland has urged his back-row forwards to step up their performance after they were dominated by Scotland 11 days ago, and Williams believes improvement is crucial if the Welsh side want to keep their title hopes alive at the Millennium Stadium.
"Warren spoke to us and said he didn't believe it went well for us against Scotland as a unit," said Williams.
"We need to up the ante on Friday night. We've taken it on board, and we need to try and answer the criticism.
"There is only one way you can answer it, and that is by putting in a good performance on Friday. We have got our work cut out, but I really enjoy playing against France."
Williams admits he is relieved to have maintained his starting spot, particularly with highly-rated Blues colleague Sam Warburton posing a genuine threat to displace him.
"I was poor against Scotland - I wasn't happy with my first-half performance," said Williams.
"You are always wary of your place and things, so I was glad to get the call."
Wales have conceded nine tries in their last three games, and Williams insists his side must tighten up defensively to stand a chance against Les Bleus.
"You have just got to put pressure on them," he added.
"France have shown how dangerous they can be if you give them momentum. That's the key - how we defend on Friday night, and hopefully a lot better than we did against Scotland."
Williams acknowledged the importance of the clash and believes that both teams will be desperate for a win in Cardiff.
"It is such a big game on Friday for both sides," he added.
"If we can win, it sets the last two matches up nicely."