AMMAN Valley Wales legend Shane Williams is expecting a gripping 6 Nations this year.

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, the former IRB World Player of the Year is taking nothing for granted, but thinks Wales have every chance of lifting the trophy in what he expects to be one of the closest contests in years.

“I think this 6 Nations is going to be a great 6 Nations,” said Wales’ record try-scorer.

“It is going to be a really tight 6 Nations this year.”

The opening weekend already has Shane licking his lips and he fully expects results to lay the foundations of what is to come over the following weeks.

“The tournament is kicking off with two cracking games,” he said. “We have the benefit of three homes games, but we face two massive away matches and Ireland will be a terrific opener.

“Wales start the tournament away from home against what should be a good Irish side, but they are looking to rebuild without O’Driscoll and O’Connell. The absence of those two could be key.

“The opening fixtures could go a long way to deciding the outcome of this year’s tournament.

“Home games are really tough and obviously away games are even tougher, but it is the away performances that make the difference.”

Despite injuries to the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, Shane thinks a good start could set Wales on their way to the title.

“The trip to Dublin will be extremely hard, but a win there will be huge.

“We have got injuries to deal with but we are in far better shape than at the World Cup.

“The whole squad is growing in confidence and we have players who have played together now for quite a long time.

“Warren Gatland has been slowly building this squad and we have definitely got a chance.

“We are a little short in some key positions, but I’m happy with what we have got. We are definitely capable of winning it.”