Shane Williams receives shock Lions call up

Former Wales wing Shane Williams has been called into the Lions squad for Tuesday’s game against the Brumbies. The ex-Ospreys winger was the recipient of a shock call-up after plying his trade in Japan this season.

Williams forms part of a backline that also features recent call-ups Billy Twelvetrees, Brad Barritt and Christian Wade. The diminutive Welshman was due to work as a radio pundit for the test series, but such is the extent of the Lions’ injury issues that he has been summoned for 48 hours only – he will arrive on Monday, play on Tuesday and leave on Wednesday.

What do you make of this shock decision?

15 thoughts on “Shane Williams receives shock Lions call up

  1. So Gatland is doing his best to rest his entire first team then. Seems fair enough, but makes this Brumbies game pretty pointless. What other British ex players are out doing punditry at the moment? Lets just call up all of them.

  2. Makes a mockery of the whole selection process. Retired international playing in japan gets selected, wtf?

  3. Was all indignant when I first heard the news. Bit of an insult to Visser, Brown, Earls, blimey even Ashton, etc, but Gats has explained that it was because he was already most of the way to Oz and would make it for the mid week game, which I fear we will lose.

    I think we now have the unlikeliest bolter award sorted!

  4. Speechless. Got some texts about this last night and assumed it was a joke making the rounds.

  5. Wow. Wonder what odds you’d have got from the bookies on Shane being called up!

    It does seem to suggest that Gatland’s original selection was poorly thought out with only 16 backs

    I have a horrible feeling that the brumbies will win this game at a canter and if they do, what does that do for morale?

  6. What a mad back line. Hogg’s second match at fly half, Barritt at 13, Wade only just capped by England, Kearney just back from injury and then Shane stopping by for a run out before he goes on to commentate next weekend. I hope 12trees has a good game!

  7. Not that I wish to defend the 2005 tour (anyone who allies themself to Alistair Campbell deserves everything they get) but wasn’t one of the many criticisms that SCW took a bloated squad of 45. Just how many has Gatland taken at this point?

    Isn’t this getting beyond farcical?

    1. With the way that the modern game has gone, I think that a squad of 45 is actually a better idea.

      The big issue in 2005 was that they had a clearly premeditated test and midweek squad, and they kept them very separate.

      Taking 45 players is fine, it means all will be up to speed from day 1. It also means not panicking and flying someone halfway round the world when someone picks up a dead leg. Having said this, you need to ensure entire squad integration, and rotate members so that there is not a clear test and midweek squad.

      Greenwood did say once in the build up to this tour, that the logical size to take is somewhere around the 40-45 mark, but it makes it easier to have a midweek and test squad, and therefore can cause issues.
      But, IMO, a genuine attempt to avoid the divide would solve any issues, and ultimately would leave you less likely to be in a situation like Gatland is now (ringing up old pals to see if they are available, as they are local).

  8. So……if everyone was getting pissy because the Western Force picked an understrength team to face the Lions………….will everyone now get pissy about the Lions.?……….

    &……a thought for any fringe players for the next Lions tour……go on holiday in the country (or near it) where the Lions are touring……don’t forget your boots….you might get a game…..all seems a bit amateur doesn’t it?……

    1. In fairness, I wouldn’t quite call this “under strength”

      Every single name that has been called up (excluding Williams) was at some point mentioned as a possible tourist. All of them are international players. Some have experience, and those without have impressed in the short time they have had.

      Williams on the other hand is a shock, but I don’t think it’s insulting to the club teams. After all, the guy is a former test lion (2 previous tours was it?). Plus he will offer leadership in that backline of inexperienced players.
      This a team where Best is skipper (not original tourist and has been average so far) which would suggest that they have scraped the barrel a little bit.

      1. This is the tongue in cheek comment from the Green & Gold (an excellent Aussie rugby website) Facebook page:

        “OUTRAGE: Lions name under-strength team to face the Brumbies”


    2. Worked for Nick Abendanon a few years ago. Called into the England squad as injury cover against South Africa because he happened to be on holiday there at the time.

      This makes sense.Short of wingers and you could do with having 3 at full strength for next week? Bring in a winger that’s available. I did admittedly question the move, but it does make sense

      As for the putting out the strongest team. I felt sorry for Western Force who had a game at the weekend, but surely any Lions team is still made up of world class players and the last non-test is always going to be the weaker side available in the build up, same as the games between tests will be

      1. Fair point about about the weakness of the lions in the last “non-test” game, but I fail to have any sort of of sympathy for the force. They rested their front line players so that they would be fit for a super rugby game which had no impact on the overall tournament. Secondly, their “first team” went on to lose to a waratahs team who rested key players for the lions.

        Admittedly, I have never been a force fan – since they poached players from other clubs in their debut season (most notably giteau and sharpe), but even so, they should have realised that the lions is a once in a career opportunity (like the other coaches seem to have done).

        Another point in defence of the lions (as you touched on) is that even a weakened team for them will still be a team of international players. Theoretically, the midweekers should not lose against club sides, especially when the test players are rested for the series (as the wallabies have done)

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