Tuesday 23 January 2018

Ali Williams out to deny Leinster time and space

Ali Williams
Ali Williams

There was a sense last season that Toulon could not truly claim dominance of Europe until they had take out the most dominant club in the history of the European Cup - Leinster.

It was a strong motivating factor in driving them on to deliver the best performance of their Cup campaign, one that paved the way for them to retain their title.

The Leinster camp was caught out by the sheer physical presence of Toulon's galacticos as men like Juan Smith, Steffon Armitage and Craig Burden won the collisions on the gain line.

It was a lesson learned for Leinster too, one that should inform the challenge in Marseille rather than Stade Felix Mayol.

They were simply squeezed for time and space by bully boy tactics.

Those same men, or men like them, have to be met head-on and stopped dead or driven back.

"Yeah, I think they would have learned from how we played last year," said All Black second row Ali Williams.

"You can only do what the opposition let you and you've got to find a way around that.

"We played quite well that day and really went forward for them and gave them limited time and space.

"For both sides that is the key: to stop that time and space.

"Both sides have huge threats all over the field. I don't see it being too different to last year, to be honest - very physical."

That's where it will all start and end on Sunday.


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