We must step up our game to beat French, says Williams

FLANKER Martyn Williams insists Wales have to step up to the mark when they host tournament favourites France in Cardiff tonight.

The Cardiff Blues star is set to equal Colin Charvis’ 94-cap Test best for a Wales forward, but knows there will need to be a significant improvement if it is to prove a winning one.

Warren Gatland’s side came mighty close to an embarrassing defeat in their last home encounter with Scotland a fortnight ago, only for Shane Williams’ last-gasp try to secure a 31-24 victory with the Scots down to 13 men. “Warren spoke to us and said he didn’t believe it went well for us against Scotland as a unit,” Martyn Williams said. “We need to up the ante. We’ve taken it on board, and we need to answer the criticism.”

Meanwhile, Ospreys scrum-half Mike Phillips insists he is fully fit to face the French despite a knee injury limiting him to just 40 minutes of competitive rugby since October.

“I’m very confident in my fitness and just really excited to be back in the squad,” he said. “I’m just chuffed to be part of the squad and if I’m called upon I’ll give it 110 per cent.”