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Forwards must provide platform for backs to flourish says Williams

14th February 2018

Nick Williams insists Cardiff Blues' pack must provide a good platform, if his side are to implement an expansive gameplay against Munster at the Arms Park on Saturday.

The number eight, who spent two years at the Irish province, has proven to be a key figure in the Blues’ attack and defence this season, and was named man-of-the-match during last week’s victory over Toyota Cheetahs.

But Williams believes Johann van Graan’s side will present a very different sort of challenge on Saturday, and Wales' Capital Region must remain focused in order to deal with the threats across the field.

“We can only do what we can control and that’s how we play. Everyone knows that we like to play an expansive game but that all starts up front,” said Williams.

“To be able to play our game, us big boys up front will have to get a good platform for the skinny boys out back to run riot.

“It’s going to be tough, there’s no point beating around the bush about it, and we’re not sure what the weather will do.

“These four weeks are huge in terms of where we will finish in the season, so it was a good way to start it with a win against Cheetahs last week.

“Cheetahs love to play running rugby and we knew what we were going to come up against. They’re a position above us in the table so we knew a win was the only thing we wanted.

“We all know that Munster are one of the powerhouses of European rugby.

“They have a strong kicking game and have got rich boots around the back three and at 10. They’ll look to kick down to our 22, and we know that once Munster get into the opposition 22 they like to play a power game. 

“They’ll keep trucking and keep rolling so we’ll be doing what we can to negate that on the weekend.

“It does seem to get a bit boring, but it’s effective and our defensive coaches have been working hard to pick out targets for us to aim and stop the threats across the park."

Auckland-born Williams has fond memories of his time at Limerick and believes their success is down to the province’s passion and ethics for the game.

The number eight said: “I was blessed to spend a couple of seasons down there, and I know how they passionate they are.

“I’m probably older than some of the boys there now and a majority of the boys are now retired, like Doug Howlett, Mick O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell. 

“It’s good to see the richness of their culture is still being passed from generation to generation.

“I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but their passion makes such a difference. They’re crazy about their footy down there and it’s been passed down from set of players to another.

“They’ve got a similar culture to New Zealand where the fear of losing is greater than the draw of winning, and that’s what I learnt when I was there.”