Williams: Beating France better than toppling England
2 March 2005 18:53pm
Martyn Williams has rated Wales' stunning RBS 6 Nations victory over France in Paris as a bigger achievement than their opening round win over England.
It had been 11 years since Wales had last turned over the old enemy on Cardiff soil and with victory sealed by Gavin Henson's long-range penalty few could imagine a more dramatic day.
Then came Saturday's trip to Paris. Wales staged a thrilling fightback from 15-6 down at half-time with two tries in five minutes from Williams and then held on for the win with heroic defence at the death.
It is not often a Wales victory over England can be overshadowed by anything, but Saturday's match was a litmus test of their title and Grand Slam credentials. And with sheer guts and self-belief Wales passed with flying colours.
"We have been good at home but in all honesty we have struggled away against the big sides. I think it is a big step up for us to beat one of the top five sides away from home," said Williams.
"And in the manner of the way we did it. We were down and out, came back and then had to hold out at the end. Everyone pulled together. We have an awesome squad now.
"It has been a long building period. For three years we have been looking at this championship and it is nice to be part of it.
"I don't think we have won three in a row for a long time. We usually keep our feet on the ground in Wales after a couple of wins but it is different with us. We will have to learn to deal with it.
"It's nice to walk round and not hide for a change back home."
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.