Wales’ record try-scorer Shane Williams believes his former team have what it takes to contend for the Guinness Six Nations but has called on fans to be patient as the team evolves.
The 2019 Grand Slam winners finished fifth in their first campaign under Wayne Pivac last year and backed that up with another fifth-place in the Autumn Nations Cup.
But as anticipation builds ahead of the opening bout of Championship action this weekend, Williams is confident Wales have shown signs of consistent improvement over the past 12 months that will help them battle towards the top of the ranks.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Game On, Williams said: “Wales did get better as the autumn series went on and we finished quite strongly.
“In terms of where we are as a squad, England, Ireland and Scotland are above us. Wales are still trying to find their feet.
“But Wayne has definitely got the firepower within that team to do very well.”
While Wales have somewhat struggled for results during Pivac’s year-and-a-half in the head coach hot seat, Williams says the New Zealander has focused much of his attention on establishing sustainable, long-term success.
And the 43-year-old believes that Pivac can now marry that approach with some strong performances during the impending series, and that issues surrounding his strongest XV have been ironed out.
“He’s had a tough time. He was building for the future, building for the World Cup, blooding a lot of players,” said Williams, who notched 22 tries in 41 Championship appearances between 2000-2011.
“The public were saying people weren’t having enough time to solidify their place. I think we went through four or five scrum-halves during the Autumn Nations Cup series and we still don’t know who our number one choice is.
“Things like that are really difficult going into the Six Nations.”