Gerald backs Shane to be No1

Lions manager Gerald Davies has backed Shane Williams to be voted the IRB World Player of the Year. [more]

Gerald backs Shane to be No1

Lions manager Gerald Davies has backed Shane Williams to be voted the IRB World Player of the Year.

The 31-year-old Ospreys winger, who toured with the Lions in 2005, is expected to be shortlisted for the prestigious award, with the winner to be announced on November 26.

”Shane was named player of the Six Nations and everyone would agree that he was the leading personality in that tournament,” Davies told The Evening post.

”No-one in this year’s Tri-Nations has highlighted himself in the way that Shane has done close on every time he has taken the field.”

Having been in superb form as Wales secured a second Grand Slam in four years, Williams continued to shine when his country visited South Africa during the summer. The former Neath scrum-half outplayed current IRB World Player of the Year Bryan Habana with two eye-catching performances in Bloemfontein and Pretoria.

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”It hasn’t been the odd good performance. He has been consistently excellent, scoring spectacular tries and making telling contributions in virtually every game Wales have played and helping them to a Grand Slam,” added Davies, who won five Test caps for the Lions as a wing on the 1968 and 1971 tours.

”His will be the name on everyone’s lips when this award is decided. His claim has to be considered outstanding.”

Since touring with the Lions in New Zealand three years ago, Williams has become the leading Welsh try scorer in international rugby, while his performances in 2008 have heightened his chances of making the Lions Test team when they take on the Springboks next year.

”I am just glad he has proved himself. He has always had the ability, but in the past year he has played with confidence and total belief in his gifts,” said Davies. 

”Wales has not had a senior world player of the year since the award came into being. If Shane wins it, it will be marvelous for Welsh rugby.”

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