Wales star set for last hurrah

2011-11-29 15:00
Shane Williams (File)

Cardiff - Veteran wing Shane Williams will make his final international appearance in a strong Wales team against touring Australia here on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Williams was picked on Tuesday as one of nine starters retained from the lineup that began last month's Rugby World Cup third-place playoff against the same opponents.

Williams scored his 56th international try for Wales in that 21-18 defeat but postponed his retirement so he could play his final match in front of a home crowd.

"It does not often happen in professional sport that a player gets the opportunity to call time on his international career, then play one last match like this one in front of his home fans and the people he has given so much joy and entertainment to," coach Warren Gatland said. "Saturday is a great opportunity for the fans to show Shane what he has meant to them and we all hope to send him off on the right note."

Luke Charteris and Adam Jones miss out due to injury and are replaced by lock Ian Evans and debut-making prop Scott Andrews. Center Jonathan Davies has a groin problem, leaving an opening at No 13 for Scott Williams.

Sam Warburton returns in place of Ryan Jones after he was suspended for Wales' final match in New Zealand, with Toby Faletau switching back to No 8 to accommodate his returning captain.

Rhys Priestland is restored at flyhalf after missing the semi-final defeat to France and then the Australia match because of injury, while Lloyd Williams comes in for scrumhalf Mike Phillips.

"As we remember the highs and lows of New Zealand and the World Cup, the focus must now be to build for the next four years, the immediate future of the Six Nations next year and towards the 2015 World Cup," Gatland said.

Tri-Nations champions Australia opened their two-game European tour with a 60-11 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.



15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Toby Faletua, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Dan Biggar, 22 Alex Cuthbert




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