Wales ‘do not have enough good players coming through’ says Shane Williams
Wales “do not have enough good players coming through”, according to Shane Williams.
The former Welsh international rugby star has expressed fears about a growing reliance on older players in the ranks.
Players who are all are above the age of 30, such as Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Rhys Priestland, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies and Leigh Halfpenny remain vital members of Wayne Pivac’s side.
Williams, who played on the wing, and is the record try scorer for Wales, believes more investment is needed at grass roots level in order to bring through a new generation of players, amid serious doubts about the longevity of the squad for the World Cup in France in 2023.
He made the comments ahead of Wales’ final match of the Autumn Nations Series, which is against Australia on Saturday.
So far in the series, Wales have been defeated by New Zealand and South Africa, but secured a victory against 14-man Fiji at the Principality Stadium.
Williams told talkSPORT: “It’s just proving for me that the strength of depth in Wales is not as good as we perhaps had thought.
“We do not have enough good players coming through at the moment and we are heavily reliant on Alun Wyn Jones still.
“Ken Owens, Jonathon Davies, the older guys that potentially might not be there for the next World Cup so even though we are building, we are still going back to having to rely on these guys.
“Cuthbert was back in the team at the weekend, scored a good try, had a good game. We had Priestland back in the team as well, so it is a bit of a concern.”
He added: “Again, if Wales play well against Australia, we will probably forget about those first three games to be honest with you!
“Every nation gets it sometimes where you haven’t quite got that crop coming through and you have that odd one or two.
“Louis Rees-Zammit is only 20 years old, he’s proof that we do have talent – even though he is playing for Gloucester – I think it is just a mixture of everything really.
“We do need to go back and have a look at are we bringing in lots of good youngsters through and letting some slip through the net or are we bringing too many youngsters through and not really giving people an opportunity to prove themselves individually?”