Give Jonathan chance to lead Wales, Wil­liams urges Gat­land

The Rugby Paper - - News - NEALE HAR­VEY

WALES legend Mar­tyn Wil­liams has urged War­ren Gat­land to use the Novem­ber se­ries to test the cap­taincy cre­den­tials of Jonathan Davies.

With Sam War­bur­ton un­der­go­ing neck surgery that will side­line him un­til the New Year, Gat­land is ex­pected to stick with Ospreys lock Alun-Wyn Jones, who was ap­pointed for last sea­son’s Six Na­tions by stand-in Wales coach Rob How­ley.

How­ever, for­mer Wales flanker Wil­liams be­lieves the time is right to look at Davies, who has 64 Welsh caps along with six oth­ers for the Li­ons, for whom he was named man-of-the­series fol­low­ing the tour of New Zealand. Wil­liams told The Rugby

Pa­per: “You’d imag­ine Alun-Wyn will keep the job. How­ever, Gats may look at the World Cup in two years and give it to a fresh face and fresh voice, which for me should be Jonathan Davies.”

Out­lin­ing Davies’ cre­den­tials, Wil­liams added: “He’s a very bal­anced in­di­vid­ual. If you look at Jon through­out his ca­reer he’s been sur­rounded by rock stars like Jamie Roberts, Leigh Half­penny and Ge­orge North – guys who get all the plau­dits – but he’s been the glue of that back­line since the 2011 World Cup and he’s got a good rugby brain.

“He’s a player’s player, some­one oth­ers would look up to, and while he hasn’t cap­tained his re­gion that much, he’s the sort of bloke who would thrive on that re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“He’s at a stage in his ca­reer where he’s by far the best No.13 in Wales and is nailed-on to play, so if you’re look­ing towards 2019 and what hap­pens if Sam and Alun-Wyn both go down, the more peo­ple you can give ex­pe­ri­ence to, the bet­ter.”

Mean­while, Wil­liams reck­ons Dan Big­gar’s move to Northamp­ton next sum­mer should have the red warn­ing lights flash­ing in the val­leys.

Where top play­ers were once en­ticed to France, Wil­liams be­lieves English clubs now wield the power to de­nude Welsh rugby’s box of­fice ap­peal.

“Los­ing Dan Big­gar’s not a great sig­nal,” Wil­liams said. “Five years ago the French clubs were the big threat to the Welsh re­gions, but now it seems to be the English.

“Toby Fale­tau’s gone to Bath, Liam Wil­liams has joined Sara­cens, Dan is leav­ing and there’s talk of Rhys Webb go­ing as well. The money is def­i­nitely at the top end of the Premier­ship, and that’s the big threat now.

“How ‘Gat­land’s Law’ is af­fected will be in­ter­est­ing to see be­cause there’s so much money in Eng­land and ev­ery man has his price. The pos­i­tive is that younger guys get chances, but you need your top play­ers in Wales to at­tract fans.”

Man of se­ries: Jonathan Davies for the Li­ons

Past: Sam War­bur­ton Present: Alun-Wyn Jones

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