Friday, January 15, 2010

Will Greenwood’s big warning for Wales

WORLD CUP-WINNER Will Greenwood has delivered a double whammy to Wales’ top stars, declaring they are facing Twickenham defeat and potential Heineken Cup wipe-out.

Greenwood, scourge of Wales’s teams as a player at the start of this millennium, reckons Martin Johnson’s new-look England will prove too strong for Warren Gatland’s men at Twickenham.

And he also predicted the Ospreys stars who make up the bulk of Gatland’s team have to take something from their Euro showdown in Clermont tomorrow.

Failure to do that, he warns, could lead to Clermont and Leicester grabbing the top-two spots in Pool Three and the Ospreys joining the Blues, Scarlets and Dragons on the Euro sidelines.

Greenwood’s warning of a double dose of trouble for Welsh rugby will fire up the likes of Ryan Jones, Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, Adam Jones, James Hook and Alun Wyn Jones ahead of a pivotal moment of their season.

But Greenwood is adamant that misery could be facing Welsh rugby, saying: “England have made themselves difficult to beat against Six Nations opponents. It’s England versus Wales at Twickenham on February 6, one of the days in the rugby calendar.

“I’m one of the biggest fans of Welsh rugby, but, as a proud Englishman, I think home advantage will prove decisive with England coming out on top.

“Wales’ second game of the Six Nations is against Scotland in Cardiff and it’s that encounter when Wales will look to get on a winning roll.”

England boss Johnson has strengthened his squad significantly after it was ravaged by injury for the autumn campaign, bringing in a number of younger players he hopes will pep up his team.

But Greenwood says that for Gatland’s Ospreys-based stars to go to Twickenham on a Euro high, they need to go for the jugular in France tomorrow to guarantee Welsh representation in the Heineken quarter-finals.

Scott Johnson’s side currently top Pool Three with 16 points, four ahead of Leicester and Clermont. But their rivals each have the comfort of a probable bonus-point victory to come over Italian minnows Viadana.

With French Championship leaders Clermont hosting the Ospreys at Stade Marcel Michelin, Greenwood insists Aurelien Rougerie and his team are in pole position to win the group.

“James is just so calm and assured. When it’s on to go from his 22, he is away. It’s an Australian sense of belief and purpose.

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