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Martyn Williams still has Wales future - Warren Gatland

Martyn Williams
Martyn Williams made his Wales debut against Barbarians in 1996

Warren Gatland has insisted Martyn Williams has an international future despite omitting the veteran flanker from Wales' 2011 Six Nations squad.

Gatland chose Williams' Blues team-mate Sam Warburton and uncapped Scarlets man Josh Turnbull in his 28-man squad as he plans for this year's Rugby World Cup.

The 35-year-old three-time British and Irish Lions tourist is only two short of reaching 100 caps.

"There is always a chance for Martyn," said Wales coach Gatland.

"He is still in contention come World Cup time."

Williams was voted man-of-the-tournament when Wales won their first Grand Slam for 27 years in 2005 but retired from international duty after their shock 2007 World Cup pool exit.

But one of Gatland's first jobs as Wales coach was to plead for Williams to come out of retirement - and the open-side helped inspire Wales to a second clean sweep in 2008.

Williams, renowned for his footballing ability rather than his physical power, was last week told that his Blues contract will not be extended when it expires in the summer.

And his bad week got worse when the former Wales captain was dropped from the Welsh squad with just nine months to go to the World Cup.

Gatland considers World Cup selection

But Gatland reassured Williams his dreams of playing in his fourth World Cup are not over.

"We know what a quality player he is and what a great servant he has been for Wales," said Gatland.

"We are just looking at a very important position.

"For the youngsters, it is a great chance in a big, World Cup year to impress.

"I spoke to Martyn on the phone before the squad was announced and said there is definitely an option for him.

"With someone like Josh Turnbull coming in, it is another player to give an opportunity there to build strength and depth for the World Cup."

Gatland once stated he would wrap Williams, who made his Wales debut against the Barbarians in 1996, in cotton wool to get him through to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Six Nations kicks off when Wales host England at the Millennium Stadium on Friday 4 February.

Wales' Rugby World Cup opener against defending champions South Africa is in Wellington on 11 September.



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see also
'Quality' Jones attitude hailed
24 Jan 11 |  Ospreys
Wales' Faletau in 6N injury blow
25 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Williams omitted from Wales squad
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Gatland concedes Wales sack fear
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Young to start Blues 'rebuilding'
23 Jan 11 |  Cardiff Blues
Gatland sees Euro flop benefits
20 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Wales back Williams to make 100
17 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Gatland wants Williams for 2011
29 Jan 09 |  Welsh
Williams makes shock Wales return
14 Jan 08 |  Welsh
Flanker Williams ends Wales duty
01 Oct 07 |  Welsh
Williams tops Six Nations poll
15 Feb 05 |  Internationals


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