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Howley: Versatile Liam Williams gives Wales x-factor

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Wales boss Rob Howley has described Liam Williams as "probably a left-wing who can play full-back" after making another switch of positions with Toulon star Leigh Halfpenny.

Many pundits view full-back as the best role for Williams, who looks set to join English and European champions Saracens next season and is rated as a British and Irish Lions certainty in New Zealand next summer.

He started in the number 15 shirt when Wales claimed a tense 33-30 victory over Japan last weekend, with Halfpenny on the wing, but those roles have been reversed for South Africa's Principality Stadium visit on Saturday.

"Liam was very disappointed with his performance (against Japan)," interim head coach Howley said. "I spoke to him about being a connection in the back field. Liam is a very intuitive player, there is an X-factor about Liam and he has that ability to add value in the wider channels.

"But Leigh is equally important. The way we defend, Leigh Halfpenny does a lot of work on and off the ball. For me, at the moment, that is the best back-three (George North is the other wing). Liam is probably a left-wing who can play full-back, where I think Leigh can play both."

Wales' style of play has come under the microscope this month during an autumn campaign that began with a crushing 32-8 defeat against Australia, before narrow victories were posted over Argentina and Japan.

And if they beat South Africa for only the third time in 32 meetings, it would give them a best autumn Tests winning return since they claimed three successes from four starts 14 years ago.

"We want to play, but there has to be a sensibility about when," Howley added. "We have always encouraged our squad to play because we feel we have X-factor players.

"Against Japan, we hurt ourselves. The three tries Japan scored came from us having had the ball. It was disappointing because we were in control of the ball. I wouldn't stop the players playing. We want to play. That is the modern game, and it's important the players and the coaches know that.

"We always look at ourselves and how we have performed. We won the game (against Japan), but the performance and the expectation of the players and coaches came up short. That has been discussed, because there are areas we have to work on."