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'You wouldn't be jealous' - Huge pressure being placed on Liam Williams

By Ian Cameron

Trending on RugbyPass

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The emphasis on his ability to field high balls will have added huge pressure onto Liam Williams this week, says former British & Irish Lions teammate Tommy Seymour.

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The Lions’ apparent failure to deal convincingly with the aerial battle last weekend has been since, with calls for the return of Williams, a player renowned for his ability to defuse aerial bombs and the all-around safety of his game.

Gatland duly obliged, dropping Scottish captain Stuart Hogg out of the 23 after a relatively poor game, with the Welshman parachuted into the 14.

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Seymour, who played alongside Hogg at Glasgow Warriors, says that the narrative around his former teammate’s abilities have been largely unfair.

“Everyone has bad days under the high ball. It was a hard day,” Seymour told The Offload podcast. “To say Hoggy isn’t good under the high ball does him a huge disservice. You look back as far as the Six Nations and you can see that’s not exactly true.

“Hoggy, by his own high standards, won’t have been happy with some of the impacts he would have liked to have on the game.

“It’s disappointing for him but it’s easy to sit back and say well he should catch that high ball when it’s been smashed 50 metres in the air and you’ve got an entire South African team coming at you. It’s a lot easier said than done.

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“Across the board the high ball wasn’t dealt with by the entire team, so to pin it on one or two individuals was a wee bit harsh.”

Seymour, who toured with Williams during the 2017 tour of New Zealand, says the 30-year-old will be under added pressure this week.

“I tell you what, Sanjay will be feeling it this week as well. The whole dialogue this week since Hoggy had that game has been ‘put Liam Williams in, he’s the safest person under the high ball.’

“Liam Williams is unbelievable under the high ball but now he’s coming into the game ‘Jeepers, if there wasn’t enough pressure already, there is now, as I’ve been touted as the guy who never drops a high ball”.

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“Fairplay to him. He’ll handle the pressure well but certainly, you wouldn’t be jealous of him,” concluded Seymour.

“Anyone reading the media this week, it’s suddenly we’ve gone from touting these guys as the best, this, that and the other; to having one poor game and now we’re saying Anthony Watson isn’t as capable under a high ball as Cheslin Kolbe.

“Anthony Watson is unbelievable under the high ball. He does it every week.

“We’re all human beings. We have off days at work. We’ve had days where we’d wished we’d done but to say that suddenly Anthony Watson isn’t capable of doing something Cheslin Kolbe, definitely when it comes to the aerial game, is definitely over the top.”

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'You wouldn't be jealous' - Huge pressure being placed on Liam Williams

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