Shane Williams: A Welsh Rugby Legend

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Shane Williams is a Welsh legend and his career spanned from 200-2011. During that time, he became Wales’ top-ever try scorer. Two notable accomplishments were winning the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams. He also played in three Rugby World Cups and played with clubs in Wales and Japan.

Shane Williams: His take on the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams

2005 Grand Slam

In rugby union, a Grand Slam is when a Six Nations wins all of their games against their opponents. Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005 and 2008. The player who played a vital role in that was Williams.

The closest game was their first game against England. The only try scored in the game was scored by Williams in that game. Wales was trailing by one point late in the game, but Gavin Henson provided Wales with the late penalty. As a result, they got their win over England for the first time since 1999. They would then win the rest of their games and got the Grand Slam with a 25-7 win over Ireland. This is what Williams said according to Guy Giles of Betway:

“We played tough rugby, we defended our hearts out. It was almost like a movie, winning that Six Nations, to be perfectly honest. That’s up there with the best of them.”

In that same article by Giles, Williams said that the 2005 Grand Slam “came out of nowhere.” This is because there were not many expectations put on Wales that year. The 2008 Grand Slam though, was when Williams might have had his best year in a Welsh shirt.

2008 Grand Slam

The 2008 Grand Slam was the second and last Grand Slam that Williams was involved with Wales. It might have also been his best year in the Six Nations. He had six tries in five games played, which led all teams in the Six Nations competitions.

This included getting a critical 12-16 win over Ireland on the road. And like the England game in 2005, Williams had the only try of the game. This is what Williams said according to Giles’ article on Betway:

“Then 2008 was a great Six Nations for me personally, because it was when I probably played my best rugby for Wales. We won the Grand Slam, I won player of the tournament and then went on to win IRB World Player of the Year. That was a huge Six Nations for me, I absolutely loved it.”

Williams will be remembered as one of the greats to ever play the game. Proof of that is his presence in the World Rugby Hall of Fame and him being fourth in all-time tries according to Giles of Betway.

Shane Williams: Overview

Shane Williams had many memorable moments in his 11-year career. However, the Six Nations Grand Slams are the two accomplishments that come to mind. This is what Williams said about the accomplishment in the Betway article:

“Both of those rank in the top, top rugby achievements, I’ve got to be honest. It doesn’t come around that often, so I’m very honoured to have done it twice.”

Accomplishing something for a nation is different than accomplishing something for a club team. It feels like when a nation wins something, everyone celebrates. This was the case for Williams in 2005 and 2008. It is also a feat very hard to accomplish. This is what Williams said about the win in Giles’ article:

“It’s extremely hard to win the Grand Slam,” says Williams. “As people who watch the Six Nations know well, it’s such a short turnaround, it’s only five games, you’re only playing five different teams. Surely it’s not difficult to win every game? I can assure you it is.”

On November 14, 2016, Williams was one of three Welsh players to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. The other two players according to Welsh Rugby Union was Arthur Gould and John Dawes (Dawes also had a well-known Rugby coaching career). The World Rugby Hall of Fame is the most prestigious award for any national team player to achieve. Williams deserved it as he will be known as one of the best players in the world.

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