Hong Kong Sevens

Disappointed Wales boss Williams wants more from his men after claiming Shield at Hong Kong Sevens

Head coach point to a fluctuation in performance as his team stream to a 33-5 win over the islanders

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 7:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 10:40pm

Wales ended a disappointing Hong Kong Sevens campaign with a dominant 33-5 victory over Samoa to take home the Shield as a minor consolation prize on Sunday.

“Definitely not,” said Welsh coach Gareth Williams when asked if he was satisfied with his team’s overall performance.

“We’re very disappointed. The consistency levels are nowhere near good enough. It’s difficult to put a finger on, but we’ve really got to nail it.”

Williams went so far as to challenge his players’ mental fortitude.

“I’d say our mindset and focus going into certain games – I would question if it is there all the time. We do prepare diligently for every team we play, but for example this morning (against Russia), to waste the chances we created, is unacceptable.”

Wales raised their game in the Shield final, however. After Samoa scored the first try, Wales ramped up the pressure and executed flawlessly to outscore them 33-0.

“Definitely, the style of play and brand of rugby we’re looking to play. I think it’s excellent. It’s just ensuring that there isn’t such a massive fluctuation in performance,” Williams said.

“We need to be more consistent and it’s a challenge for our players – particularly our senior players – who are very costly at this moment.”

Williams knows his squad have to step it up for the upcoming tournaments.

“We’ve really got to look at ourselves harshly before the Commonwealth Games next week and our bread and butter tournament, which is the World Series in Singapore.”

Wales centre Ethan Davies, 24, said his team “really needed” that last win.

“It was still a very disappointing result, but we showed what we can do when we stick to our game plan well and actually execute.”

Even more disappointed than Williams was Gordon Tietjens, the legendary New Zealander who is now Samoa’s head coach.

“We were obviously able to start off pretty well but it seemed like we just fell apart when we were under a little bit of pressure,” he said.

“This entire tournament we’ve been having difficulty with offloads, turning the ball over and making silly mistakes.”

Tietjens is, however, confident his team will be able to bounce back and become a better team moving forward.

“To be fair to my guys we’ve been hit with a few injuries. We’ve only had three on the bench and we’ve had a number of key players ruled out of this tournament with serious injuries.

“On the other hand, [injuries] are good opportunities for some of the younger guys to step up but unfortunately they let themselves down in that last match against Wales.”

Just like Williams, Tietjens says consistency is the key for his team turning from a good team, into a great one.

“We’ve shown what we can do, we beat England convincingly [33-10] in the semis so we wanted to continue with that performance but unfortunately we went back to some of our bad habits.”

Looking for the positives, Tietjens said his team had “a heck of a time” at the Hong Kong Sevens.

“It’s always a great atmosphere here in Hong Kong, and I think we’re going to come back next year and get a much better result.”

Ben Young