Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shane Williams is one of rugby’s all-time greats

WING wizard Shane Williams today stands out on his own as the undisputed try king of Welsh rugby.
His scintillating late touchdown against France on Friday night saw him surpass the great Gareth Edwards as the leading Welsh try-scorer in the history of the Five Nations and Six Nations rugby championships.
Williams had drawn level with Edwards on 18 championship tries with the score that completed a remarkable comeback in the dramatic victory over Scotland two weeks earlier.
And on Friday, he went clear at the top of the Welsh list by sidestepping his way over for his 19th tournament touchdown.
“It’s a massive honour to surpass someone like Gareth Edwards, who is a true legend of the game,” said the Ospreys speedster as he reflected on his achievement.
While it took former scrum-half Edwards 45 championship games to notch his tally of 18 tries, Williams has gone one better in just 35 appearances.
“I just love scoring tries, full stop,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to do and that’s what I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a kid. You are the equivalent of the striker in football. I’m just a little bit greedy maybe.”
While his match-winning effort against Scotland might have been a case of him popping up in the right place at the right time to round off a team move, his record-breaking score on Friday was all his own work.
As he ran back to halfway, he raised his arm in salute to the crowd and the ovation he received in response spoke volumes for the admiration the Welsh public has for the Great Entertainer.
“If someone had told me the year after my debut that I would score this many tries, I would have looked at them silly because I wasn’t even involved in the Wales squad then,” he said.
“I want to continue scoring tries,” said Williams. “I want to get up with the likes of Campese.
“I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but what I will do is continue to work hard and get involved in games.
“The more often I get involved the probability goes up I can create something and score tries.”
It was just unfortunate that his record-breaking sizzler against France couldn’t have coincided with a Welsh victory.
“As far as I was concerned, it was all about beating France and everything else was just a bonus,” said Williams.
“So to lose the way we did was very frustrating and a real kick in the teeth.

“We are a nation that tries to play rugby and sometimes you get punished for doing that.

“We conceded two interception tries, one my fault, which really took the wind out of our sails.

“In fairness, France started very well and defended very well and made it very difficult for us. “It was all catch-up for us in the second half again.

“There’s a bit of deja vu about the way we’ve started the last three games.

“You’ve got to commend the guys for the way they came back.

While his team have been denied, there’s no denying Williams his place in the record books or his status as one of the all-time greats of the Welsh game.

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