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Six Nations, Sport

Six Nations: Wales hope for Shane Williams u-turn on retirement decision

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley hopes that Shane Williams will change his mind and abandon plans to retire from Test rugby after this year’s World Cup.

Williams has been ruled of Wales’ RBS 6 Nations finale against France in Paris on Saturday due to a knee injury.

And if the 79 times-capped Ospreys wing carries out his intention to quit the international arena in October, then he has already made a Six Nations exit.

But Howley believes that Wales’ record Test try-scorer, who was 34 last month, remains at the peak of his powers.

“We will miss Shane’s creativity in Paris – his ability to turn defenders inside out and make something out of nothing are priceless assets,” he said.

“When he is on the ball something is going to happen, and that will be missed on Saturday.

“I have been talking to Shane in the last couple of weeks, and I hope that he has not played his last game in the Six Nations.

“He has got the World Cup and the summer games coming up, and from all the physical data we are getting from him in training – his speed, the first five and 10 metres time – he is one of our quickest backs, if not the quickest.

“I am sure there is plenty of fuel left in his tank. Any side in world rugby will miss Shane – we hope he changes his mind.”

Williams suffered a dislocated shoulder during Wales’ autumn defeat against world champions South Africa this term, and his latest injury is expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks.

After this weekend, Wales’ next game is a June 4 appointment with the Barbarians in Cardiff, followed by August World Cup warm-up games against England (twice) and Argentina.

Howley added: “Shane’s impact in the last couple of months has been immeasurable. He has had a huge influence on the young wings and his attitude has been spot-on.

“He will be sorely missed when he does retire. It is a personal decision for him, and only he can make it after discussions with his family.

“The way his body is, he is still right up there with the top wings in world rugby.

“You can only compare Shane with the greats of the past like Gerald Davies and JJ Williams. He is world-class, just look at the tries he has scored. He is frightening.

“We have to respect his views and can only ask him the question, giving him the reasons why we think he should stay on.

“We will talk about the positive aspects of his game, the physical data and the way he is playing. You are a long time retired.”

 

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