Shane Williams

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Shane made 84 Wales starts and was a replacement three times, scoring a Wales record of 58 tries and winning his first ten caps while with Neath and the next 77 with the Ospreys. He was a genius, originally considered as too small by Wales’ Southern Hemisphere coaches, but always was the nation’s choice and became one of the greatest Welsh players of all time. Originally a scrum half, he left Amman Valley Comprehensive School and Amman United senior side to join Neath, for whom he appeared in 81 games (1998-2003) and scored 223 points. With the Ospreys he appeared in 141 games and scored 293 points, including 57 tries (2003-2012) before changing his mind on retirement to join the Japanese club Mitsubushi Dynaboars from 2012 to early in 2015 when he seemingly finally retired. However, he made a return to help Amman Utd in 2016-17, helping the club win the WRU’s Bowl final. He had originally played football for Cwmamman United FC and worked in a Job Centre. He played for the Lions of 2005 in New Zealand in one test and the test against Argentina at Cardiff before the tour. In 2009 he toured with the Lions to South Africa scoring two tries in the only test he started, but he did appear in another test as a replacement and scored five tries against Manawatu. In 2013 he was called up to make one tour appearance in Australia, jetting in from Japan. Every try he scored seemed to be exciting, brilliant running, swerving and side-stepping that brought crowds to their feet. Only five feet seven inches tall, he was a pocket battleship (a very quick one!) and very much a player’s player. He scored four tries against Japan (1st test) in 2001 and three against Argentina (2nd test) in 2004; played in three RWCs and toured Japan (2001); Argentina/South Africa (2004); Argentina (2006) and South Africa (2008), also making a Wales Development tour of Canada in 2000. He also played for Wales ‘A’ and for the Barbarians against Wales in 2012. He was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to rugby.