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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Tackle laws concern for Wales flanker Martyn Williams

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 6 February Kick-off: 1700 GMT
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ONE, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online, full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website

Wales flanker Martyn Williams may have to modify his tackle technique
Wales flanker Martyn Williams may have to modify his tackle technique

Wales flanker Martyn Williams says he will be wary of a new interpretation referees will use at the tackle area in this year's RBS Six Nations.

Tacklers must now give their prone victims time to release the ball before attempting to steal possession.

Both the England and Wales teams will play under the new guidelines for the first time at Twickenham on Saturday.

"It's a bit of a grey area, the tackle, going into Saturday because they've adjusted some of the rules," he said.

"So it's going to be one of those 'suck it and see' during the game, just finding out where you are.

"It's not ideal but that's just the game at the moment.

"Over the last few months players have been flopping on the tackle area and there's been penalties given to the defender.

"Whereas now we've been told you've got to release the tackled person first and then attempt to 'jackal' the ball.

"That's what we've been told, that's apparently how the referees are going to ref it, so at the moment none of us will have played in a game that's been reffed that way so it's going to be new on Saturday."

Hook pleased to return to midfield

Alain Rolland will take charge at Twickenham and Williams told Scrum V Radio that he expects the experienced Irish referee to do a good job.

But with the new guidelines being handed down to referees from the International Rugby Board, Williams says they are ready to adapt to each official's personal interpretation of the change.

"Obviously different referees will have different interpretations, so we've worked a lot on that this week for both scenarios," Williams added.

"It will make for more open games... you'll have a lot quicker ball from rucks and there won't be so many penalties given to the defensive side.

"The first 20 minutes is going to be interesting, everyone is going to be quite tentative maybe and trying to find their feet there but you get into it as the game goes on, so hopefully it won't be too much of an issue."

England v Wales encounters are always spicy affairs, but with Wales having won at Twickenham on their last visit two years ago - their first success at HQ for 20 years - there is an added element.

"Obviously as long as it's England v Wales there's going to be a little bit of 'banter' flying round, but I'm not part of that anymore as I'm blowing too much, I don't know how the boys do it!" Williams added.

"As it is there'll be no quarter asked and none given on Saturday, it'll be full-on.

"They've got an awesome back-row: Nick Easter, James Haskell and Lewis Moody. Great balance there, very dynamic.

"Nick Easter's got a fantastic rugby brain, he's very underestimated I think.


"But we go into it well, with two boys next to me - Ryan [Jones] and Powelly [Andy Powell] - who have been on fire for their regions over the last couple of months.

"It's going to be an interesting battle, not just in the back-row but in the two packs."

Williams admits that Wales used to go to places like Twickenham in the past hoping they might win, but says that Warren Gatland's current crop believes that every game is there for the taking.

"Gone are the days where you're going into games just to keep the scoreline down, I've been part of sides that maybe in the past were like that," Williams said.

"But now I think the younger players we've got through now are so confident in their abilities; fitness-wise and conditioning-wise we're up there with some of the best in the world.

"Maybe we haven't got the strength-in-depth and the numbers to choose from like some of the top sides but we're still a confident group and we've progressed a long way in the past two years."

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