Liam Williams column: Time to deliver for Welsh nation

Liam Williams
Six Nations 2021: France v Wales
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday, 20 March Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, 5 Live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and app, S4C
Highlights: Scrum V, Sunday, BBC Two Wales, 21 March, from 19:00 GMT and later on demand

In his latest BBC Wales Sport column, Liam Williams underlines what it will mean to win a Grand Slam for the Welsh nation.

We know it's a huge week for us and what is at stake.

It would be very special if we could get the job done in France. It's a dream to play for Wales and to win a Grand Slam is huge for the nation, especially after a tough old year on and off the pitch.

We know it's going to be hard against France. They've been playing good rugby and have some special players. It's going to be tough but hopefully we're good enough to win and create our own little bit of history.

We have turned things around from last year. The autumn wasn't great and the fans were on our back which is kind of understandable. We've come through and won four from four.

Personally, it would be an amazing achievement to win a Grand Slam. It's what people dream about and for the fans who haven't been able to be there and have been watching on TV at home with a can of lager, we want to get the win for them as well. Hopefully they'll be coming back into the stadiums soon.

Creating that matchday atmosphere is an individual thing. When we played in the autumn we went out and you could hear a pin drop.

It's strange, but we've come to the realisation now that there are no fans and you have to get your own way of getting up for the game.

We make our own atmosphere in the ground, on the bus on the way in and in the changing room.

Six Nations: Wales' Grand Slam bid for the fans back home - Alun Wyn Jones

Fans or no fans, we're playing for our country and most people would love to be in our position.

The Six Nations is a totally different tournament to the autumn, when we were just coming out of lockdown, we hadn't played much rugby and we weren't used to having no fans in the ground.

The autumn was a stepping stone towards the next World Cup and we had to give the younger boys a chance to get them some game-time and see how they got on.

If you look at Louis Rees-Zammit, he had one or two games in the autumn and has come through.

Now you can see the player he is going to become through the performances he's produced in this Six Nations.

Callum Sheedy was given a chance too and he and the other boys have slotted in pretty well.

Final flourish

This last week has just been about fine-tuning things. We had a couple of days off after the Italy game that I spent with my fiancee Sophie.

To be honest I didn't move from the couch for two days - I was a bit stiff after the game. It was nice not doing a lot. I also did not travel very far, literally.

We are currently renting one of the apartments at the Vale, but I'm not allowed to go back there when we are in camp because I am staying at the hotel with the squad.

It's a bit strange. Whenever we drive down to the bottom pitch to train I always see Sophie in the window and give her a wave.

Coming back into camp has been good. It has been tough not being able to go home in the week but the environment has been great this year. The entertainments committee, food and everything has been brought into one.

Six Nations: We're lucky that 14 of team have won a Grand Slam - Wales boss Pivac

We can't do too much because of Covid but we put on a couple movie nights, we watched Twin Town which is one of my favourites. We had a pool and darts competition in the team room too.

Cory Hill loves the darts. He is a bit of a cowboy, he's up and down, sometimes has good games and then bad games.

Adam Beard got to the darts final - he's very good. Being 6ft 8in, he stands at the oche and he's almost touching the board.

All of this is to take our mind off things. I keep alluding to the fact that it's a big week, but Alun Wyn Jones has spoken about not playing the game until the weekend.

We all need to keep calm until Saturday at 9pm French time.

I used to be one of the younger guys, but I'm one of the older guys now and happy to look after anybody and welcome them to the squad.

I am 29 now and Louis is 20. I think he was born in 2001 which just blows my mind.

Whatever our ages we know what's at stake, we've been on the laptops this week looking at France and our own training. It's about being professional.

I do like playing on the big stage, who wouldn't? People would give up everything to be in my position. I just want to go out there and work hard for the team, myself, my family and my country.

France challenge

France have imploded against us in the past but I think they have got rid of that aspect of their game now. With Shaun Edwards being over there he's turned them into a different team defensively.

They've been one of the best teams in the Six Nations. It's a tough one because they're always hard to play against and have got some big boys.

I think we're going to have to take them down to the pits this weekend, grind them down, tire them out and hopefully it opens up in the second half.

Six Nations: We're going up against one of the best teams in the world - Humphreys

Shaun will be looking at their physicality against us, that'll be huge for him.

I know when he was here with Wales it was all about physicality. I'm sure he'll have a few things up his sleeve - we'll just have to wait and see.

Their players have all got individual traits which we've noted down. We'll be looking out for those traits and individually they're all world class - we've seen that over the past couple of weeks.

I think it's going to be a close battle, one we hopefully will come out on the right side of and bring the Grand Slam back to Wales.

We will be playing for all the fans this weekend - the supporters who can't come out to Paris or meet on the streets or in pubs and rugby clubs to watch us play.

We know they will be in their living rooms cheering us on and I can promise you that knowledge will inspire us. We just hope we can deliver for you again.

Top Stories