Williams hails tough Wales regime
Martyn Williams says training under Warren Gatland is tougher and more intense than anything he has experienced under past regimes. The Wales flanker said: “You can’t cruise through a session. It has been a step up to anything I have experienced.
“In the past maybe we were guilty of being able to cruise through sessions because they went on so long.”
Williams revealed tempers have regularly boiled over during Wales’ high-intensity Six Nations training.
Gatland persuaded Williams, 32, to come out of retirement for the Six Nations in which Wales have already lined up a Triple Crown tilt against Ireland on 8 March by seeing off England and Scotland
Williams joked: “If I had known how tough the training would have been I might have had second thoughts about making a comeback.”
The Cardiff Blues star, who has been on two British & Irish Lions tours, says Wales missed a great opportunity at the World Cup to make their mark.
But he says Wales’ coaching regime is creating the sparks that have led to their Six Nations revival.
“The intensity does spill over – but if it doesn’t, then that is when you start to worry,” said Williams. “All good sides have that.
“The sessions are shorter now but the intensity is unbelievable. Now, there is no holding back, no half-measures.
“You come off after some sessions and feel like you have played a game, they are that tough.
“It is always good when a new coach comes in with new ideas. It has been challenging. You have to pick yourself up another gear.
“The World Cup was a huge missed opportunity. Not one side in the world was outstanding and it was frustrating.”
Wales now have high hopes of a Triple Crown, which will be decided on the trip to Dublin in just under three weeks’ time while there is also talk in Wales of a potential Grand Slam.
But Williams will not buy into that talk just yet. Wales must overcome Italy on Saturday, a team they have not beaten since the 2005 Grand Slam season.
“People are still underestimating them and it is difficult to see why because they are pushing sides regularly,” said Williams.
“They have world class players and have been our bogey side in the last couple of years. We drew at home with them two years and we lost over there last year. They will be very dangerous on Saturday.
“We could be on the verge of something special but if we don’t perform and don’t win our next three games then it will have been a disappointing Six Nations.”