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Six Nations, Sport

Six Nations: Wales wing Shane Williams ready to torment Italy again

Shane Williams, Wales, Italy, Six Nations, rugby, rugby union,

Shane Williams is just nine tries short of David Campese's record of 64

Wales’ wing Shane Williams has touched down in Rome ready to inflict fresh misery on an Italian side eagerly awaiting his flight back home.

The Azzurri will be thankful they might not see him again, as Williams – 34 tomorrow – maintains 2011 is his final year of international rugby before retirement.

The Welsh try-scoring machine has claimed nine tries in eight Tests and hasn’t failed to score against them since 2006.

Video: watch Shaun Edwards’ give his views ahead of the match at ITV.com/Wales

His double at Murrayfield a fortnight ago accounted for Scotland and kickstarted Wales’ RBS 6 Nations campaign following an opening loss to England, with victory tomorrow guaranteed to keep them in title contention.

And if Williams increases his Test try tally from 55 for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, it would inch him closer towards Australian legend David Campese’s world-best figure of 64.

“I would like to think I still have a few tries in me,” the Ospreys star said. “I am only nine short of David Campese and I could probably do that in 12 months.

“I try not to dwell on those sort of records too much, and we will have to see what happens for the rest of the season, but I am as hungry as ever.

“I like scoring tries and I am still enjoying my rugby at international level. I am still getting the buzz and feeling just as sharp on the field.

“There is no better feeling than when you are scoring tries. That is what I am here to do and hopefully I can continue to do that for the rest of the season.”

Wales will hope to provide Williams with plenty of possession at the Stadio Flaminio, a ground where they lost in 2003 and 2007.

Having gone eight Tests without a win before beating Scotland, it is crucial Wales collect another victory and continue generating momentum before hosting Ireland on March 12.

Williams added: “I still think Wales can win the Six Nations, there is so much to come from this squad. More importantly we have started to win again, and while I know it is only one game, it is a start.

“It was not the prettiest performance against Scotland, but we did what we had to do. We have played some real eye-catching rugby in the past and lost.

“We were determined to go out against Scotland and start well, and that is what we did. The game plan went perfectly in the opening quarter.

“But we know Italy are a very different proposition at home. Having lost in Rome in the past, I know what it feels like.”

As each game passes, so Williams’ departure from the Test arena he has graced since 2000 draws nearer, and at this stage he appears unlikely to have a change of heart after the World Cup.

“I would be devastated after all these years to be dropped from the (Wales) squad,” he said. “I have had such a great time and I would be gutted if it came to the point that I was not being selected for my country.

“Some of these youngsters are pushing me for my position at the moment, and slowly they will overtake me and get my position.

“I would rather hang up my boots rather than be told by the media or by anyone else, asking ‘Why is he still playing, because he is too old’.’

Williams has also been linked with a move to France next season, potentially following his current Ospreys colleagues James Hook and Lee Byrne, who recently secured deals at Perpignan and Clermont Auvergne respectively.

But he added: “I have not thought about my future and I won’t decide until the next couple of months.

“People have mentioned France. The Top 14 competition is a massive tournament with the revenue that is out in France at the moment, and the players they are currently bringing in are some of the best in the world, so you can see that appeal.

“It is unfortunate that Wales and other countries can’t compete with this. It would be difficult to leave the Amman Valley (Williams’ birthplace), though. I don’t think people would ever talk to me again.

“I have been there so long now, I would not know what I would do with myself. I get a nosebleed when I come up to Cardiff.”



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