Williams confirms Six Nations finale
March 14, 2011
Williams applauds the Millennium Stadium crowd following his side's controversial Six Nations victory over Ireland © Getty Images
Wales wing wizard Shane Williams has confirmed Saturday's Six Nations clash with France will be his last in the Championship.
The 34-year-old, who is Wales' all-time leading try-scorer, has confirmed his plan to quit Test rugby after this year's World Cup meaning he will grace the Six Nations stage for the last time at the Stade de France.
"If I could play until I was 60 I would but I'm realistic," Williams told BBC Wales' Scrum V programme. "Who knows what the future holds? But at the moment this will be my last Six Nations game and it could be quite emotional."
The 2008 International Rugby Board Player of the Year's double in the 24-6 win against Scotland last month took his Test try tally to 53 in 79 internationals and his Championship haul of 22 tries is only two short of the record jointly held by Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll and Scotland's Ian Smith.
The British & Irish Lions international has been a key player in Wales' recent revival with Saturday's 19-13 victory over Ireland bringing an end to Wales' six-match winless run at home. And a big victory over France along with defeat for Grand Slam-chasing England against Ireland could yet see Wales claim the title.
"It's nice to win of course and three on the trot is very nice, but it was a little bit more special because it was at home and it's been a long time coming really," said Williams. "It was a good performance by all but wasn't the most spectacular of performances again, but it's nice to see that we can win games without playing to the best of our potential."
Williams is set to step aside with a new generation of wingers including Leigh Halfpenny, Morgan Stoddart, George North, Tom Prydie and Tom James in the mix but he admits it is still not an easy decision to make.
"I'm still enjoying my rugby, I love being in camp, I really don't want to quit Wales I really don't," added Williams. "I've got to be realistic and unfortunately I am getting older, we're all getting older we know that. We can't go on forever and the thing is there are boys at the moment pushing for places especially in my position.
"If I was a tight-head prop or a loose-head prop I'd play until I was 45! But it's getting tougher and tougher, the games are getting harder and harder and I've got to be realistic. I can't go on forever, so realistically this will be my last Six Nations."
Williams, who has been with the Ospreys since their formation in 2003, is currently in negotiations with the Swansea-based region over a new contract with his current three-year deal set to expire in the summer.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene