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Henry wary of pressure on Williams
Cardiff
February 15, 2000

Wales coach Graham Henry has urged people not to put too much pressure on new cap Shane Williams, the young man hailed as the 'future of Welsh rugby'.

The Neath wing will make his first start against Italy and is one of four changes to the team who suffered their heaviest ever defeat in Cardiff when they were hammered 36-3 by title favourites France in their opening match.

Henry said, "We have to be kind to Shane as it would be wrong to put him on a pedestal only to then shoot him down. We have to nurture his talent.

"Shane has real attacking ability. He has the ability to beat people and the
vision to create space, and he has good football skills.

"I just hope he plays with the same flair as he does for his club side, but
he might take some time to adjust to this level of football so we have to be
patient.

"If he handles the pressure and adjusts to this quality of football he will
be a great asset. Once he starts creating things he will give the people around him a boost."

Wales skipper David Young commented, "There is enough experience in the team to rub off on Shane. He is a great kid who wants to do well for himself and for his country, and he will get the backing from the players."

Of the changes he had made to thew squad Henry said, "These changes are not a knee-jerk reaction to the defeat against France. You have to remember that Allan Bateman and Craig Quinnell would have played had they been available against France.

"The other changes are a matter of fine-tuning. Shane Williams is adding some extra pace on the wing, while Geraint Lewis will bring greater footballing
skills to the back row.

In other news concerning Welsh rugby Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, which will host Saturday's showdown, is celebrating a £1million partnership with food giant Nestle UK, which was announced today.

Under the five-year package Nestle will become official suppliers to the Welsh Rugby Union and the Welsh national side. The company will also become a sponsor of the Dragons Rugby Trust, which is responsible for the grass roots development of the game in Wales.

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