Shane Williams expecting high-scoring games as South African and Welsh teams lock horns again
Shane Williams believes the BKT United Rugby Championship could be in for a batch of free-flowing, high-scoring games when South African and Welsh sides lock horns once again this weekend.
The Round 8 matches between the teams from the two countries delivered no fewer than 29 tries and 217 points. Now Ospreys and Wales wing legend Williams is hoping for more of the same.
Speaking on a URC round table, he ran the rule over the matches, starting with his former region, who are in action against the Cell C Sharks down in Durban.
“The Sharks aren’t in the vein of form they would like to be at the moment. They have just come from a heavy defeat at home to Cardiff,” he said.
“The Ospreys have got some players who are playing particularly well and they might be able to go and sneak that one. But then it might be a gutsy performance from the Sharks and a bit of pride at stake.”
Turning to Saturday’s fixtures, Williams looked first at the meeting between the DHL Stormers and the Dragons RFC in Cape Town.
“I think that is going to be a good game. They are both teams that love moving the ball around in the back-line, with some exciting runners, and they are both sides that go to score tries. Those are my favourite types of teams, the ones that really have a go.
“The Dragons have got a new coach in Dai Flanagan this season. I played with Dai and have known him for a long time. He worked hard as a coach at the Scarlets, he has waited for his turn. He is well respected and the boys love him. He’s obviously a very good coach because he is where he is, but you’ve got to have the lads on your side.
“He grafts and he wants that from his players and you can certainly see they play for him. The Dragons love to move the ball around, they like to offload, they like to play from side to side and they do attack very well with some intricate moves. They have made the second most passes in the URC and they have got players like Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright that really have a crack.
“They have had some good victories this season and are far more confident. They are a team I enjoy watching playing and they are only going to get better, but I think the Stormers will just be a little bit too strong for them.”
Moving on to the Vodacom Bulls against Cardiff Rugby in Pretoria, he said: “That’s an interesting game. Having put the Sharks to bed last weekend, Cardiff will be full of confidence. That was a massive result for them.
“When I was asked at the start of the season who I thought would do best out of the Welsh regions, I said Cardiff. They have made some great signings, with Thomas Young playing particularly well. He just keeps doing the business. That could be a really good game, but I think the Bulls will be a little bit too strong at home.”
Finally, commenting on Sunday’s BKT URC showdown between the Emirates Lions and the Scarlets in Johannesburg, he said: “That will be close. I do think the Scarlets will be confident going out there and it’s a game they may be able to pinch.
“Whenever the Welsh regions go to South Africa, they’ve got to have the confidence and belief they can win. You can’t just go there and say let’s see what happens.”
Williams concluded: “There are some real big matches. I am looking forward to them. They are games that could be free-flowing and high-scoring.”
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