Williams gets vote of confidence but warned to keep toys in cot

Advertising

Paris (AFP)

"Emotional" Liam Williams has been warned to keep his "toys in the cot" after incurring the wrath of the Welsh management team over a yellow carding in last week's victory over Italy.

But coach Warren Gatland has handed the Saracens back a vote of confidence after naming him at wing for Saturday's Six Nations finale against France.

Williams was shown a yellow card just before the break of the 38-14 win over the Italians for a high tackle on opposing fullback Matteo Minozzi.

Gatland had no complaints about the decision of French referee Jerome Garces, saying he thought the "yellow card was fair -- we had no problems with it" and adding he was "disappointed" by Williams' challenge.

Tellingly, when Williams' 10 minutes on the sidelines was up, Gatland kept him off the field and sent first-choice fullback Leigh Halfpenny from the bench to finish the game instead.

Asked what message he had since passed on to Williams, Gatland said: "Keep your head down.

"He has been good," the Kiwi said. "It is a case of don't throw your toys out of the cot because he is capable of doing that.

"He is an emotional player and I like that about him.

"I admire his physicality and his intent on that. It's about him keeping things in check and he knows and he understands that."

- No clip around the ear -

Gatland added: "It's not about giving him a clip around the ear and stuff. It is just reminding him of what makes him a good player.

"You want that emotion in his game and it's just being able to handle that every now and then.

"We have had a chat about that, it wasn't a long chat and once you have that you don't bring it up again and talk about it."

Williams takes the place of Steff Evans, who is named on the bench, with Halfpenny starting at full-back and the other wing position filled by George North, who scored a double against Italy.

Gatland expressed his joy at the strength in depth in back-three positions, with Hallam Amos and Josh Adams both pushing for starting places.

"We feel with this squad, and where we are building to (the Rugby World Cup in) Japan in 2019, we are a lot stronger position than we were three or four years ago with depth in the squad and it is nice to have those selection dilemmas," he said.

"It is a pretty exciting and experienced back three.

"Steff has had some opportunities and it is good have Liam back on the wing."