Lions in SA

Lions will go home happy

2009-07-06 09:29
Shane Williams (File)
Stephen Nell

Johannesburg - South Africa deserve to be disappointed, but Shane Williams and Phil Vickery will have enjoyed the stylish way in which they ended their careers on Saturday.

Williams, 32, scored two tries in the 28-9 victory at Coca-Cola Park, while Vickery was not caught off guard by Tendai Mtawarira this time round. To the contrary in fact, with the 33-year-old English prop keeping the Beast firmly in line.

Neither player will be seen in the Lions jersey again, yet both are considered Northern Hemisphere rugby greats. Vickery played in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals, while Williams was named the IRB Player of 2008 and has an excellent try scoring record (46 in 67 Tests) for Wales.

Until Saturday Williams had been suffering through an unlucky tour of South Africa, but made the most of his last chance.

“I said beforehand that I would enjoy this match and that is exactly what I did. It was my last outing for the Lions and it was very important to me to end it well. It’s not only the tries were rewarding, but I thought my overall performance was also good.” said Williams.

 “I am very proud to be a part of this victory. We felt strongly after the second Test that we deserved success in this series. The players trained very hard and our defence was excellent. All of us can now hold our heads up high and can go home happy.”

Williams acknowledged that he was not in form before Saturday’s third Test.

“I am not angry at those who started questioning my abilities because I realise I wasn’t playing as well as I could have. But it was a great way to stick my tongue out at the critics,” he said.

The Lions captain, Paul O’Connell, on Saturday praised Vickery after the Test.

“He made some very good points in our team talk and showed a lot of character with that performance. It shows you what can happen when you pull on a Lions jersey. Phil played a big role in getting the team ready and he should be very happy.”

“We found motivation in the Lions jersey. There were guys who played their first Test for the Lions and some who played their last.”

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