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Martyn moment of madness could hit Wales hopes for six.

Byline: By Simon Thomas Western Mail

Wales star Martyn Williams has admitted he was stupid to pick up the sending-off that could see him miss the start of the Six Nations championship.

The Blues flanker was red-carded for butting Ospreys scrum-half Jason Spice in the dying seconds of last Saturday's Magners League clash at the Arms Park.

He now faces an anxious wait to find out what suspension he will receive for his moment of madness.

Wales' opening Six Nations match against Ireland on February 4 is only 40 days away and Williams could be looking at a ban of around four to six weeks.

His dismissal came a minute into injury time during the Blues' 30-24 victory over the Ospreys, as he reacted to New Zealander Spice clipping him around the head.

'I was stupid,' said Williams, who hopes to be able to face the Dragons at Rodney Parade tomorrow. 'I should have known better. The red mist came down and I bit.

'I apologised to the boys afterwards. It could have cost us the game and it was stupid. I should have just walked away.

'He gave me a clip around the back of the head and 99 times out of a hundred I've walked away from things like that. I've had a lot worse done to me and not reacted.

'It's just one of those things. I've got no excuses, no one to blame, it's my fault. It was just foolish.'

Williams' out-of-character reaction led to initial speculation that it might have been a response to something Spice had said as the pair grappled on the touchline in front of the main stand.

But the 31-year-old British Lions openside knocked down this notion.

'Nothing was said at all,' he stressed.

'It was just heat of the moment. I've got nothing against Jason and I've got no one to blame but myself.

'I guess I could have done with the ref blowing up for full time a bit earlier!'

Williams must now wait to learn his fate, with his punishment to be decided by disciplinary chiefs.

'It's out of my hands now. I've just got to get my head down,' he said.

'Hopefully I'll be available for the Dragons game and then I'll just keep my fingers crossed after that.'

Blues boss Dai Young is calling for the fact that Williams was provoked by replacement scrum-half Spice to be taken into account by the disciplinary panel.

'As Martyn went to pick up the ball, he was clipped from behind,' said Young.

'Obviously he reacted to that. He's very disappointed with his reaction, but that's what it was.

'It was a reaction to someone giving him a slap across the chops.

'He's not known for that kind of thing. It was just frustration.

'Obviously you can't condone what he did, but it was a reaction to someone trying to wind him up.

'It's always the retaliator who gets punished, not the person who starts it.

'Jason Spice is a past master at it. I think the Ospreys have got a couple in their team that pride themselves on winding people up and getting under their skins.

'I thought we'd handled ourselves extremely well all game and then we let ourselves down on that instance.

'That's what Martyn feels. He feels he let himself down and he should know better.

'We all hope Martyn won't miss any of the Six Nations, because Wales need him.'

Fellow Blues forward Gary Powell received a four-week ban following his sending off for a butt against Leicester in October's Heineken Cup clash at the Millennium Stadium.

But that was in a different competition and it remains to be seen how Williams' offence will be viewed in terms of its seriousness.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 26, 2006
Words:626
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