Wales full-back Liam Williams has thanked the public for their support “whatever the outcome” after being on the receiving end of online abuse last weekend. Wales fell short of a Grand Slam at the Stade de France on Saturday, letting a ten-point lead slip in the final five minutes of the match.
The team were down to 13 men during this period after both Taulupe Faletau and Williams were shown yellow cards by referee Luke Pearce – and numerous so-called fans directed their fury at the latter online.
The Welsh Rugby Union highlighted some of the abuse the 29-year-old Williams received, saying it “has to stop”. Current and former teammates of the full-back also showed their support.
Williams has now shared an Instagram post saying he was “gutted” to lose while thanking everyone for their support “whatever the outcome”. The post finished with the hashtags #BeKind and #FullTimeAbuse” which were also shared by the WRU because sportspeople have been facing a rise in online abuse.
“Gutted to come up short against an incredible French side. Thank you to everyone who supports us – whatever the outcome.”
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This reaction is all the more bizarre in light of Williams’ performance before the yellow card where he was fundamental to Wales’ commanding performance. His aerial prowess put the French back three under huge amounts of pressure and helped Wales gain easy territory throughout the match.
Even his yellow card on 73 minutes, which was for allegedly going off his feet at a ruck, has been questioned by fans, with many seeing it as a harsh call. That was only one of a string of penalties given away by the Welsh, who had already seen Faletau leave the field before Williams joined him in the bin.
The card was a blip in what had otherwise been an overall successful Guinness Six Nations for Williams and Wales and while their Grand Slam hopes are over, they can still win the championship with a little help from Scotland when they visit France on Friday night.
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