Imagine Rugby Blogs
Imagine Rugby Bloggers
Williams Try a Fitting End to International Career
Late try the perfect way to bow out, despite defeat
Posted Dec 07, 2011 by Chris White
Send to a friend
Whoever wrote the script at the Millennium Stadium simply could not have written it much better for Shane Williams, other than putting him on the winning side of course. Unfortunately, his Wales side were beaten by Australia 24-18, but the final score of the game was Williams going over in the corner in the final move of the match, his final involvement in international rugby.
The 34-year old winger was on-hand to finish off a fine flowing move by the home side, and Williams said afterwards that “it’s an incredible feeling scoring a try, but knowing it’s your last chance to score, it is just fantastic. I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Williams signs off from international rugby having scored 58 tries in 87 appearances for his country, but despite the vast experience at the top level, he still confessed to being “more nervous than ever before” ahead of the clash with Australia.
The Aussies did spoil Williams’ party, running in three tries after Wales lost Leigh Halfpenny to the sin bin, capitalising on their man advantage. The home side took the lead through a Rhys Priestland penalty, and Williams did well to prevent Lachie Turner from scoring the first try of the game. Priestland soon made it 6-0 after Australia were penalised for being offside, but James O’Connor reduced the lead to three points just before the half time interval, Wales going in 6-3 up at the break.
When Halfpenny was shown yellow, Australia pounced, and Will Genia went over for the games’ first try, which O’Connor duly converted to give the Wallabies the lead. Turner, denied in the first half, was not to be denied a second time, going over in the left corner, and O’Connor kicked the extras from right on the touchline. Wales responded well, with Halfpenny back on the field, and George North did well before setting up Priestland to touch down, only for his conversion to hit the upright.
Then came the moment that the crowd had been waiting for. Williams collected the ball on the right hand side after some flowing rugby from the Welsh side, and he darted across the line and touched down with a somersault. Dan Biggar kicked the conversion, but it was all too little too late in the sense of the game, Australia winning 24-18, but Williams, one of the best players in the world of his generation, was treated to a standing ovation by the crowd at the end of the game.
Watch Shane Williams scoring his final try for Wales in the 24-18 defeat to Australia:
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North (Alex Cuthbert), 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland (Dan Biggar), 9 Lloyd Williams (Tavis Knoyle); 1 Gethin Jenkins, 2 Huw Bennett (Matthew Rees), 3 Scott Andrews (Ryan Bevington), 4 Bradley Davies, 5 Ian Evans (Justin Tipuric), 6 Dan Lydiate (Ryan Jones), 7 Sam Warburton (C), 8 Toby Faletau.
15 Adam Ashley-Cooper (Ben Tapuai), 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Anthony Fainga’a, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia; 1 James Slipper, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Stephen Moore), 3 Salesi Ma’afu (Ben Alexander), 4 James Horwill (C), 5 Rob Simmons (Nathan Sharpe), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock (Radike Samo), 8 Ben McCalman.