1. ITV Report

Wales back Williams against All Blacks

Liam Williams has been called in to replace the injured George North Photo: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde believes Scarlets back Liam Williams can stand up to the pressure of facing world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

The 21 year-old has been drafted onto the wing for Wales to replace George North who suffered a hip injury in training on Tuesday.

Williams, who won his one and only cap in Wales' victory over the Barbarians in June, has been in sparkling form for the Scarlets this season, albeit in his preferred position of full-back.

North's withdrawal is just the latest in a long line of injuries which has hit Wales' autumn campaign, depriving them of the services of Adam Jones, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Turnbull, Richard Hibbard, Dan Biggar and Ian Evans.

Although McBride is confident Wales will not be weakened by Williams inclusion but admits losing North is a dent to their challenge.

It is a blow, we are well aware of the threat George poses with regards to his strong running, ability under the high ball, breaking tackles and his work-rate.

There is no denying it is a blow, but we are fortunate to have someone like Liam, who has performed consistently well for the Scarlets, to fill in for him.

The signs are that he can deal with it (the pressure of facing the All Blacks), but there is only one way to find out.

You can prepare as much as you want, but it is not just a question for young players but for any senior international who has not faced the All Blacks, you don't know how you will react until you get in there.

But Liam is quite grounded as an individual, he is well aware of the challenge ahead of him.

One thing that is evident whenever he puts on the shirt for the Scarlets or for Wales is he is full of life, does not take a backward step and gives as good as he gets.


Wales have not beaten New Zealand since 1953, and have suffered 24 consecutive defeats at the hands of the All Blacks.

New Zealand, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 19 Tests and have racked up 93 points in beating Scotland and Italy so far on this tour.

It's those statistics which means Wales will be firm underdogs when Steve Hansen's men take to the Millennium Stadium turf on Saturday evening.

They are the one side you measure yourself against, they are the world champions, the ones you want to beat.

They get a little bit more focus in preparation because you know what is coming.

We have paid due respect to them, they have played great rugby and it is a great challenge. We have not only focused on New Zealand this autumn, but you know it takes something extra, something special, to match the All Blacks and to beat them.

We have jumped on any sign of a perceived weakness.

They have said they were not happy with their performances in Scotland and Italy. Scotland put them under a bit of pressure and managed to keep them under pressure in their 22 leading up to one of their tries, and Italy also caught them on one or two scrums and took the game to them as well."


Meanwhile New Zealand will wait on the fitness of star fly-half Dan Carter. Carter, who missed the world cup final due to injury, pulled up during training on Thursday with a leg problem.

The All Blacks confirmed they will make a decision on the 30 year-old's fitness ahead of the captains run on Friday.

Wales Team to face New Zealand:

Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Matthew Rees, Aaron Jarvis, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris, Ryan Jones, Sam Warburton (captain), Toby Faletau.

New Zealand team to face Wales:

Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read.