Liam Williams: Scarlet should be full-back for Wales, says Gareth Thomas

Leigh Halfpenny shares a joke with Liam Williams after a Wales international match
Leigh Halfpenny (left) has made 66 Wales appearances, while Liam Williams has 38 caps
Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Sunday, 5 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Liam Williams should be full-back for Wales' opening Six Nations match against Italy on Sunday, says ex-captain Gareth Thomas.

Saracens-bound Williams is expected to be on the wing with Toulon's Leigh Halfpenny at 15.

But 2005 Grand Slam winner Thomas believes the Scarlets player's offensive skills give him the edge.

"We need more of an attacking threat and I think Liam Williams is the in-form player in Wales," he said.

"I understand what Leigh Halfpenny brings us, but I'm a huge fan of Liam Williams."

Halfpenny, 28, was at full-back in three of Wales' autumn internationals in 2016, with Williams filling the number 15 jersey against Japan when Halfpenny played on the wing.

The Toulon player is Wales' first-choice place kicker and was man-of-the-series for the British and Irish Lions in the 2-1 win over Australia in 2013.

But Thomas - who played centre, wing and full-back in his 100 Wales appearances - believes Rob Howley's side have to adopt an attacking game against Italy in Rome.

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"I understand there's always going to be a debate because Leigh Halfpenny gives us a solid kicking game and a solid kind of stability at the back," he said.

"But for me I'd always go for the attacking prowess that Liam Williams is capable of and hopefully the game will open up at the weekend.

"Games like that, Liam Williams relishes when we're on the front foot with good attacking ball and that's when you get the best out of one of Wales' best players."

Williams has signed a two-year contract with European champions Saracens and will leave Scarlets at the end of the current season.

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