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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 07:59 GMT
Mitchell applauds Williams
Shane Williams
Shane Williams spent most of the week ill in bed
New Zealand coach John Mitchell paid tribute to Shane Williams after the Ospreys winger dazzled the All Blacks in Sydney's final pool game on Sunday.

Williams lit up the match, wrong-footing almost the entire Kiwi defence to set up a dazzling try for Sonny Parker, before touching down himself.

The game was widely expected to be a Kiwi rout, but Wales played some of the best rugby of the tournament before losing out 53-37 to set up a quarter-final clash against England.

"I've never seen him before," said New Zealand coach John Mitchell when asked about Williams' efforts.

"But he has pretty good footwork."

The 26-year-old scrumhalf-turned-winger admitted he was so ill earlier in the week with flu, he was laid up in bed in the team hotel.

"I wasn't sure I'd be playing. It gave me a little bit of time off from training," he said. "I'm just glad I did recover and had the opportunity to play tonight and thoroughly enjoyed the experience."

He can have a lazy week again this week if he wants
Steve Hansen on Shane Williams
Wales coach Steve Hansen said Williams' performance might earn him a new training regime in the run-up to next weekend's match.

"He has had a lazy week," Hansen said. "He's been laid up in bed but he came out and played like a champion

"He can have a lazy week again this week if he wants."

The Welsh coach warned that his side needed to keep their feet on the ground, despite their impressive performance.

"The performance against New Zealand was good but at the end of the day we lost," said Hansen.

"We're trying to get consistent performances that will allow us to win games against the best sides in the world.

"I've been harping on for a long time that we need to play our best against one of the top teams when they're playing well to assess where we are."

Wales coach Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen offered a rare smile after his side's display
It is barely two months since England's second string humiliated Wales 43-5 in Cardiff - a record margin between the two teams.

And Hansen admitted his side need to keep a lid on expectations ahead of next weekend's encounter.

"The All Blacks played very well and so did we. So we've closed the gap a little bit," he added.

"But the important thing is now that we're facing another top nation in the world in England next week.

"It's going to be very interesting to see if we can back that up."

Young flanker Jonathan Thomas, one of the stars of the Welsh pack with a rampaging display, said Wales had taken lessons on board after being beaten heavily by the All Blacks earlier this year.

"We knew that we couldn't just panic and kick the ball away to them, because their broken-field runners would expose us," Thomas said.

"So the game plan for us was to keep the ball away from them and try and build some phases."





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