SCOTT Williams says Wales will look to get over their latest southern hemisphere heartache by aiming to win the Six Nations title for an unprecedented third time, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
Wales’ failure to beat the Wallabies on Saturday continued their shocking record against former Tri Nations sides Australia, New Zealand and South Africa since Warren Gatland took over as head coach in 2008.
But where Wales have done well under the former All Blacks hooker is against far weaker opposition in Europe were they have largely reigned supreme in the last five years with two Grand Slams and three Six Nations titles.
Scarlets centre Williams was bitterly disappointed with Saturday’s 30-26 defeat to Australia but is looking to partially putting things right with the 2014 Six Nations tournament opener against Italy just two months away.
No side has ever won a hat trick of successive titles since the Azzurri joined the competition in 2000.
“It's definitely not easy to take,” the 23-year-old said in the wake of the weekend’s failure. “We have to look forward now to the Six Nations. Our goal is to win the championship again. No other country has won three on the bounce.”
And Williams, who won his 23rd cap against the Aussies, paid tribute to the Wallabies’ star man Quade Cooper, the outside-half playing a pivotal role in their victory and deservedly winning the official man of the match award to mark his 50th cap in fine style.
“It's like chasing shadows,” he said. “He's an outstanding player – that's all I can say.”
And what did Williams make of his own autumn series after injuries to highly experienced centres Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies made him Wales’ most senior midfield player by far?
“Overall, I was quite pleased,” he said. “I made a couple of mistakes in the first half, which I put my hand up to, but I feel I gave 100 per cent in everything I did. That's all I could ask of myself, really.”
On Saturday’s defeat, he added: “We didn't have enough of the ball in the first half. We defended well at time, but a couple of mistakes let us down.
“It felt like we were tackling, tackling and tackling in the first half, but when we had a bit of ball after the break we put them under pressure.
“I thought we were going to come back at the end, but a couple of errors let us down.”