Six Nations – Liam Williams tackle could have been a red card


Wales boss Warren Gatland has admitted that Liam Williams could have been sent off for a dangerous tackle during the Six Nations victory over Italy.

Williams was yellow-carded by referee Jerome Garces following the challenge on Italy full-back Matteo Minozzi.

Wales will hope that the Saracens back is in selection contention for next Saturday’s Six Nations finale against France in Cardiff.

Match citing commissioner Douglas Hunter has until 5pm on Tuesday to decide whether or not to cite the 26-year-old British and Irish Lion and leave him facing a disciplinary hearing.

“It is about Liam controlling that emotion,” Wales head coach Gatland said.

“In the first half, things were not going as well as he would have liked, there were a couple of errors in there and you see he gets frustrated.

“He gave away what I thought was a penalty that did not need to be given away at the breakdown. And the tackle at the end [of the first half], I understand what he was trying to do, he was trying to hit him as hard as he could.

“There was just a bit of frustration, and if he makes that tackle a bit lower there is no problem, but he catches him high and it possibly could have been a red card.

“I have sat him down before. It is not a major issue — it is just how we manage him and the players.

“I don’t want him to lose that emotion. That is what makes him as good as he is. He is physical, he has got great work-rate, he has great energy and you don’t want to take those things away from him.

“When things aren’t quite going his way, he needs to keep control and keep calm. He will work hard on doing that.”

Williams did not return to Sunday’s action after his 10-minute sin-binning, being replaced at full-back by Leigh Halfpenny, but he remains an integral part of Wales’ impressive attacking game.

France are next up – a bonus point victory would guarantee that Wales finish second behind champions Ireland – and Gatland expects a strong challenge from Les Bleus following their 22-16 success against England.

“I think they will be good,” he added.

“Their defence looks strong at the moment, it was good in the first game against Ireland. They were unlucky not to win that, and then they started well against Scotland.

“Having a few more games under their belt, a win against Italy, they are showing some cohesion now, having been together for a number of games. I thought they were exceptionally good against England.

“It is going to be a tough game for us. We are pretty happy with the record we have had against France in the past, and we know there is an opportunity for us to finish second in the championship, which is pretty important for us.

“I hope they have been partying all night in Paris after that win [against England] — they deserve it.

“They have had a lot of things that have gone against them, and even had to regroup in this championship with some players moving out of the squad.

“You have to take your hat off to (head coach) Jacques Brunel in terms of the discipline he has brought into the squad. They played like that – they played with discipline against England.”

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