Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Williams Is on a Roll but Knows O'Driscoll Could Steal the Show; In-Form Wales Centre Comes Up against Ireland Great Who Has a Point a Prove

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Williams Is on a Roll but Knows O'Driscoll Could Steal the Show; In-Form Wales Centre Comes Up against Ireland Great Who Has a Point a Prove

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

PICKING centre partnerships has proved a headache in the past for Warren Gatland. Seeing Brian O'Driscoll line up in midfield against Wales in Dublin on Saturday will act as a reminder of the vilification Gatland faced after he controversially axed Ireland's talisman for the final Lions Test last summer.

It was a decision that was ratified as the tourists cruised to a 41-16 victory in the series decider. Jonathan Davies, who was outside centre that day after playing inside centre for the previous two Tests, is still not quite fit enough to make his way into the Wales side despite recovering from a pectoral muscle injury to play 40 minutes of regional rugby last weekend.

And even when Davies is fully fit, there is an argument for Scott Williams, who remains alongside Jamie Roberts this weekend, breaking up the Roberts-Davies axis that head coach Gatland has tended to employ for Wales.

Williams helped his cause by getting a try just before half-time in the opener against Italy last weekend, a passing combination with Roberts saw him touch down with ease. It was a far cry from his usual scoring efforts.

His individual try in the Heineken Cup this season against Harlequins was blistering, while Courtney Lawes will vividly remember having the ball ripped from him only to see Williams chip ahead from halfway and score to help guide Wales to the 2012 Grand Slam. It was a moment that led to him being called "a player with destiny in his DNA". Of his propensity for spectacular scores, Williams said: "I never score really easy ones. I managed to get one at the weekend which was a plus."

As for explaining his knack of scoring such tries, he simply shrugged his shoulder and said: "I don't know."

No disrespect to Italy but the Roberts-Williams partnership faces a far stiffer test on Saturday, with O'Driscoll coming up against the Scarlets man in the opposite No13 shirt.

"Brian is definitely an inspiration," said Williams. …

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