Height: 1.70m (5′ 7”)
Weight: 80kg (12st 8 lbs)
Date of Birth: 26th February 1977
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales
Diminutive in stature, but huge in reputation, Shane Williams, the pint-sized assassin is easily one of the best wingers in world rugby, and one of the best Welsh rugby players of all time.
Known throughout world rugby for his raw pace, his jinking runs, and his unreadable side step, Shane has dazzled fans and players alike since his international bow at the age of 21. During that time he has accumulated 58 caps for Wales, scoring 215 points in the process, as well as becoming the all-time highest Welsh try scorer with 43 tries and counting.
Incidentally, his 41st try against France in the 2008 Six Nations pocketed Williams a cool £25,000 following a £50 bet he placed when he was 21 that he would one day become Wales’ leading try scorer. He also was awarded the RBS Six Nations Player of the Tournament accolade – not a bad Six Nations for Shane.
Williams was also one of the stars of the 2005 RBS Six Nations campaign, touching down against England, Italy and Scotland. He was then selected to the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 New Zealand tour earning one Lions cap and he equalled a single-game Lions record by scoring five tries in a tour match against Manawatu.
Williams started his career as a scrum half at Amman United, later moving to Neath and to the wing. He currently plays regional rugby with the Ospreys, having moved into the side with the inception of regionalism. To date Williams has made 68 appearances for the Ospreys and scored 27 tries and one dropped goal.
The 2007 RBS Six Nations saw Williams partake in three games: the win over England and matches against France and Italy, in which he scored a try against the Azzurri. Williams was rested from the touring squad of Australia in May 2007 but was named in Gareth Jenkins’ 41-man preliminary Rugby World Cup 2007 summer training squad in June. He made the final 30-man RWC squad in August and played against France in the Invesco Perpetual Summer Series at the Millennium Stadium.
Williams was included in the starting line-up for all of Wales’ Pool B matches at the Rugby World Cup, and enjoyed a successful tournament personally. He scored six tries in total, two against both Canada and Japan (during which he earned his 50th cap) and one each against Australia and Fiji, making him the joint third highest try scorer of the entire tournament (on a par with Doug Howlett, behind Bryan Habana and Drew Mitchell).
In January 2008 Williams was included in Warren Gatland’s RBS Six Nations squad, and the winger proved a revelation in the championship. Williams amassed an impressive six tries, equalling Will Greenwood’s Six Nations try-scoring record (in the Lloyds TSB Six Nations, 2001), playing in all five matches of the Grand Slam campaign and gaining braces against Scotland and Italy, and single efforts against Ireland and France.
This season promises to continue the meteoric rise of Shane Williams with a grueling Autumn international schedule with Wales, the defence of their Six Nations crown, and the tour to South Africa with the Lions.