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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Farewell to Shane Williams - Final try and interviews after the game

Shane Williams has hung up his Test rugby boots after playing his final game for Wales against the Wallabies on the weekend. He has since been offered an extension on his Ospreys contract, but will more than likely stick to his original plans.

It was meant to be a fairytale ending to a wonderful career and while the scriptwriters got the final play of the game spot on, Wales' 24-18 loss to Australia was not quite the way superstar Williams had planned to end things.

The twice British & Irish Lions tourist will turn 35 next month and despite still looking in great shape and recording excellent times on his speed tests, he has insisted that now is the right time to end things with Wales.

"If I had the chance to keep on playing rugby for Wales until I was 50 I’d do it. But I wouldn’t be very good! So there are no second thoughts, although I feared there might be," said Williams.

"People have questioned why I am retiring. There’s a lot of pressure from people within the camp and outside, with the family and everything. But I expected that. This just feels right to me. It’s difficult to explain, but you know within yourself when it’s time to move on to other things.

"I can’t believe what I have achieved in a Welsh jersey. It hasn’t been perfect, in fact it’s been tough along the way. But I’ve worked very hard. If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s how hard I have worked to get where I am.

"I never would have thought I’d be playing for Wales at all, let alone for 11 years," he said.

In terms of his contract extension with the Ospreys, he says he's happy with how things are at the moment, and has hinted that he might want to get into coaching at some stage in the future.

"I've got this season and next season left in my playing contract. I've already been offered an extension to stay another year, but I think realistically two years will be where I want to be. You can never say never, but I'm sure in two years' time that I'd like to be doing other things," he said.

Below is his final try, emotional interviews after the game, as well as a great video with some comments from fans and former players, including Welsh legends Gareth Edwards and JJ Williams.

Highlights from this and other big games from the weekend will be posted soon. 


Credit: With thanks to BBC & Scrum V

Posted at 10:30 am | 26 comments

Shane Williams flipped in huge double hit vs the Wallabies

Shane Williams' great try saving tackle on big Matt Banahan

Midweek Madness - Shane Williams hurdles Topsy Ojo

Shane Williams great solo try against London Irish

Shane Williams raring to go ahead of the 2010 Six Nations

Shane Williams' 6 tries - British & Irish Lions Tour 2005

Viewing 26 comments

1st comment December 06, 2011 1:15 pm

Great man and player, fitting end to a brilliant career.

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Tanora December 06, 2011 1:16 pm

Great player, seems like a decent bloke too. Enjoy retirement, Shane, although I think you're off too early.

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moddeur December 06, 2011 1:21 pm

A great attacker and dedicated defender, very sportsmanlike on the field and a nice guy off it ... this man holds many qualities, and it's tempting to imagine he can play a few extra years. But I think it's the right decision for him though, there is nothing worse than fading away for a great player, and at some point fading would have happened.

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 06, 2011 1:38 pm

I remember being in the Gwernllwyn nightclubin Cross Hands a few years ago where the Amman Valley youth team were there having a bit of a party, when I started pulling their legs about Shane Willams, friendly wind-ups and all that. Then outside waiting for a taxi, they spotted me, and picked me up and carried me above their heads and threw me into the flower beds and bushes. All done very funny. They dusted me down and put me in a taxi and sent me on my way.

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stroudos December 06, 2011 4:20 pm

Fantastic, would love to have seen that!

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 06, 2011 4:36 pm

I heard that is how they have always treated their teachers, college lecturers and coaches when they meet them on a night out, epecially when they are wound up - they throw them in the bushes, feet first though - they make sure of that. The fecking buggers that they are. Kiddies will always be kiddies until they decide to grow up! Think it is called reverse psychology on them, and no, I am not a trick-cyclist at all, just observational in life

Like this bloke for instance Stroudos, laugh at this, very very funny, and what it is about to get young people in the right frame of mind, but Gunnery Sergeant Harper hasn't much time, so he speeds it up a bit, you could say...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBfZ4Jj09Fc

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RyanShanks December 06, 2011 1:52 pm

The greatest player of a generation; the Prince of Wales; the Magician; our hero, our Shane... We will miss you. Diolch yn fawr

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coops December 06, 2011 2:26 pm

Great player and by all accounts a great bloke - all in all a legend of Welsh rugby, BUT

At the risk of sounding insensitive (and I'm aware I will get some abuse for this), I wasn't overly impressed with the way he went about his final game. I know he's a Welsh hero playing his final game, but he seemed more than happy to treat the game as his testimonial - he scored a fine, but ultimately meaningless, try at the end and celebrated as if it was the winner. I would have thought, given his pre-match chat about the match being about getting the win, that it would have been a slightly more sombre moment, rather than the sheer joy at being in the spotlight again.

As I've mentioned, don't want to take anything away from him - Welsh legend - but I think it would have been a better measure of the man to score his try with more dignity (as he's conducted himself through most of his career) and then if he has to give an interview, keep it short and sweet with a thank you to the Welsh fans rather than a 5 minute oscar acceptance speech!

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coops December 06, 2011 2:27 pm

*scored a fine try

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LND December 06, 2011 3:50 pm

I don't think you have grasped how emotional that try was for him, or the speech afterwards. Are you authistic?

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stroudos December 06, 2011 4:37 pm

To be honest, I think Coops makes a valid point, although the length of interview's not Williams's fault, it's that nauseating BBC interviewer, (although in fairness to her I think he brief is to focus on the individual and try to make them cry).

But yes, a hugely emotional occasion and you can't blame Ickle Shane for being overwhelmed by it all.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one to "get a bit of sun cream in my eye" watching this?

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coops December 06, 2011 5:48 pm

Nope I'm not - and it's certainly emotional for him as he's very passionate about playing for Wales, and as I've said before he's had an outstanding career.

But would he have celebrated like that in any other game where the game was lost? My point is that the match did actually become 'Shane's last game' as opposed to a test match, and I personally would have preferred to see him go out in a more modest way - although, as is fairly pointed out below, this is partly the fault of the cringey interviewer!

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coops December 07, 2011 1:22 am

Cheers Adam, no need to resort to name calling! As I've already stated countless times, he's been an inspiration to countless youngsters, been one of the best players of his generation and proven time and again he can mix it with the big boys. Of course I bloody appreciate him. My point was - and still is - is that the match did descend into the Shane Williams retirement party. Now if you believe that's fine, great, but my view was I'd like to see him go out with Wales by showing how gutted he was he didn't win the game.

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WelshOsprey December 06, 2011 4:15 pm

Legend, great finish to his career. Horrible to think he wont be there next six nations.
I personally think hes still our best wing option alongside north.
Atleast we've still got him playing week in week out for the ospreys now.

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 06, 2011 4:15 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/16029639.stm

Flipping 'ell, Shane should be looking to go and play in France next year for a couple of seasons, or better still OZ, to see a bit of the World, and then come home retired. Travel broadens the mind in living in strange climbs, and all that. Melbourne Rebels even, because they could do with some true talent like Shane to kick them up their ben oles.

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i love bacon December 06, 2011 8:06 pm

That's one of the few sensible posts I've ever seen you make. I agree; it could be nice for him to move down and play Super Rugby (if the Rebels or another team were actually even interested). And it could be fun/interesting for him to play where the game has a different style than up north in the Celtic League. Food for thought.

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stroudos December 06, 2011 4:32 pm

Awesome player and what a wonderful way to finish the game - if it was a Hollywood script that try would have won the game, other than that it couldn't have been scripted better!

Here is a brilliant video from last week - I love stuff like this, Greenwood and Williams - two legends of the game - having a relaxed chat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmE-OlqXiL0

The bit just after the one-minute mark puts perfectly the point moddeur makes above. Greenwood is so disarmingly modest isn't he?

Hats off to Ickle Shane for having the guts and decency to retire (rather than "be retired" as he puts it). Brave decision really.

The point is, if he continued would he be likely to represent Wales in RWC 2015? Highly improbable. Wales have so many talented young players coming through who, with 3-4 years top-level experience, will be far more valuable to Wales's world cup ambition. Good time to make way and let the new guys develop their potential.

So from that point of view, plus the opportunity to play your last match without pressure, in front of a packed home crowd all going mental for you, I think he's made the right decision.

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WelshSheep December 06, 2011 4:56 pm

I disagree with Coop, it was a bit long winded i suppose, but hes been a fantastic player and quite frankly deserved that kind of send off.
He is the greatest winger of his generation, its a shame as he could've had alot more tries and caps if Steve Hansen hadn't thought he was too small, but your never too small if they cant catch you ;-)

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 06, 2011 4:58 pm

Yes stroudos, many have a suspicion that he might turn up in a red vest again. Perhaps Shane should have gone down the route of play until not selected, which I think is better. No player is bigger than the team and all that. Gatland is strong enough to kick him into touch, but maybe that what last Saturday was all about - "sorry Shane, I am kicking you into touch, you are past it". See how he does in regional rugby in the next couple of months, and you never know! Alex Cuthbert, all six foot six of him looks to be his successor, so see what happens. Hope Cuthbert doesn't become another Chris Czejack welsh white hope and all that. Watch and shoot.

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Pretzel December 06, 2011 6:43 pm

It is tempting to imagine him playing on (as many have said) and honestly it would be from a pure selfish point of view to watch him continue to play, but I suppose as Gatland said they are focussing on depth now and getting in the younger players and he said Williams wouldnt be around for 2015, so its a good time for him to retire. As mentioned by someone else he would only fade away into the background and could perhaps become a bit nauseating to watch as he stumbles around the pitch from injury to injury after losing his pace and could eventually be brought on in the last 2 minutes to win "honorary caps"... so yeh, its a good time...

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Just Call Me Ehtch December 06, 2011 7:05 pm

for GODS SAKES rugbydump, find a new server host, this thread is like 38k dial up back in the bad days of the late 19990's. I would watch paint dry rather than try post on this thread. TOO many facebook, etc. shit going off from her, hand held from nong kong and gay downtown sydney, no doubt.

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RyanShanks December 06, 2011 7:31 pm

I agree welshsheep, the guy deserved that game all for his own. It may have been a test match, but a test match that nonetheless mattered for no reason to anybody other than to say goodbye to the greatest player of his era.

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i love bacon December 06, 2011 8:00 pm

Got both a try saver and scored a try in his final match for Wales. Can't ask for much more than that (other than the win, I guess).

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flyingpepper December 07, 2011 1:17 am

Awesome player, every rugby player let alone winger probably has grown up idolizing him. A true magician at making something of nothing.

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Yannoche December 11, 2011 11:22 pm

This is too soon, come back Shane!

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Pedro December 12, 2011 6:53 pm

Does anyone knows the name of the song?

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