In his pomp Shane Williams was untouchable, the Welsh winger lit up the international rugby stage scoring 2 tries for every 3 games in his 86 tests for Wales and 4 for the Lions.
Williams is the record try scorer for Wales, and is fourth on the international list of leading rugby union test try scorers behind Daisuke Ohata, David Campese and Bryan Habana. He is Wales’ most capped winger.
In 2008, Williams was selected as the IRB Player of the Year.
Famed for his agility, stepping and blistering acceleration the diminutive 12 stone 8lb flyer was awarded his first cap by Graham Henry as a replacement against France in the 2000 Six Nations season, he was three weeks short of his 23rd birthday and weighed a little over 11 stone. Able to find and exploit the tightest of gaps with regularity. His love for the game, charm and enthusiasm meant that even whilst scoring tries against England was always a popular player to see with ball in hand.
At the start of his Test career, in 2000, Williams’ father, Mike, put £50 at 500-1 on his son breaking the Welsh try-scoring record. He picked up £25,000 when his son touched down for the 41st time, against France on Grand Slam day in March.
Never the quickest in a straight line (he was rarely running in a straight line), Williams had genuine pace especially over the first 10 meters, leaving a loose forward in the defensive line was a not uncommon sight.
His 100 meter time in his prime must’ve been on the 11 second mark, possibly under but his small size makes me think it isn’t (Shane please get in touch to correct me). Back in 2011 the WRU head of strength and conditioning Adam Beard talked about the arrival of a young George North in the squad…
“At the moment, it’s still Shane over 10 metres, then Leigh Halfpenny and Jamie Roberts is up there as well. He’s improved a lot. “But George will smash all the records. I’ve seen him run 4.5 seconds for 40 metres unofficially a couple of weeks ago. “That’s right up there with the fastest guys in world rugby.”
Shane, you are one of the greats. 100m – 11.00s.
At 40 his love for the game has not diminished, set for an emotional return to the Principality Stadium with childhood club Amman United in the National Bowl competition after a 29-3 semi-final win against Cardigan.