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Williams points to pack effort after Zebre win

First Team News | 25th March 2023

Lloyd Williams paid tribute to the pack after Cardiff came away with five crucial points from their trip to Zebre on Friday.

The scrum half, who recently overtook Taufa’ao Filise as the club’s most capped player in the professional era, was named the BKT Player of the Match as the Blue and Blacks secured maximum points in Parma.

However, the Welsh international was quick to praise the efforts of the forward pack, with James Botham and Liam Belcher contributing three of Cardiff’s four tries on the night.

Williams said: “Our set piece was really good today, and was something we could count on. All credit to the boys up front, we put them in the areas but they fully capitalised on it.

“The forwards put a real shift in today and they got us over the line which is what counts for us.

“As part of our preparations last week, we’d looked at the last 10 Zebre home games and they’re always pretty tight and are in the game come the last quarter.

“We did slip off a little bit in the last 10 minutes but on the whole we’re really pleased and we would’ve certainly take five points before coming out here.”

The Arms Park is preparing for a blockbuster clash next week as Sale Sharks visit the Welsh capital for the Challenge Cup Round of 16.

The last time knockout rugby was played at CAP was the famous 2018 semi final win over Pau, which took the Blue and Blacks one step closer to silverware in Bilbao.

Williams is hoping for a similar occasion when the Gallagher Premiership outfit visit next week and is relishing the knockout showdown.

“We have some real big games coming up, starting with next week against Sale, and once we get in on Monday we’ll hit the ground running again. It’s a massive game for us,” added the homegrown scrum half.

“It’s going to be a brilliant occasion and a massive game. In fairness, whenever we play at home we always build a great atmosphere there.

“I’m sure that next weekend will be no different. Sale Sharks are a good team but we’ll relish this opportunity.

“Europe is always brilliant, especially given there’s something on this game. The boys will be buzzing come next weekend, as will the crowd.

“It would be brilliant to have similar numbers to the Pau game in 2018, and it would be great to have the same result as well.

“Europe is a brilliant competition and one we really want to excel in this year. It’s a massive game and hopefully one that, when you look back at the end of the season, is one you remember."

The Blue and Blacks turn their attention to the Challenge Cup knockout clash with Sale Shark (April 1, KO 8pm), with tickets now available as Cardiff chase a third European crown.