Williams can inspire Wales to rare victory

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Robin McBryde says Wales will be inspired by the Millennium Stadium presence of Owen Williams when they face world champions New Zealand today.

Williams suffered what was described as a significant spinal cord injury playing for Cardiff Blues during the World 10s tournament in Singapore five months ago.

The 23-year-old, who won four Wales caps in 2013, has been treated in Cardiff’s Rockwood Hospital and is showing continued signs of progress.

He is set to be among a capacity 74,500 crowd for the All Blacks’ visit, and Wales forwards coach McBryde said: “It’s quite inspiring when you talk to Owen, how positive he is.

“He hopes for the best, he keeps on working with the physios, and that in itself is quite inspiring.

“When you meet Owen, he doesn’t hold a grudge against anybody.

“He is making small gains. He is working hard with the physios, and everyone hopes he is going to make a full recovery.

“Having him here watching the game will be inspiring. It’s good to see Owen and the support he has had, and hopefully we can give him something to cheer about tomorrow.”

Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953, losing 25 successive Tests against them, while their last victory against either New Zealand, South Africa or Australia came six years ago when they toppled the Wallabies 21-18.

And the bookmakers have installed New Zealand as overwhelming favourites to continue that sequence this weekend in their final game on European soil until next year’s World Cup.

“There are going to be some critical moments in the game, and we have to make sure that we come out on top during those critical moments,” added McBryde.

“There will be no quarter asked, no quarter given. We are going to have to be at our best.”