Shane Williams called up for Brumbies clash
Former Wales wing Shane Williams has been drafted into the British and Irish Lions team for Tuesday’s final warm-up game against ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
Wales’ record try-scorer, the 36-year-old is currently playing in Japan after quitting international rugby in 2011.
Lions results & fixtures
- Sat 1 June: 59-8 v Barbarians, Hong Kong
- Wed 5 June: 69-17 v Western Force, Perth
- Sat 8 June: 22-12 v Queensland Reds, Brisbane
- Tue 11 June: 64-0 v Combined New South Wales-Queensland Country, Newcastle
- Sat 15 June: 47-17 New South Wales Waratahs, Sydney
- Tue 18 June: ACT Brumbies, Canberra
- Sat 22 June: Australia, First Test, Brisbane
- Tue 25 June: Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne
- Sat 29 June: Australia, Second Test, Melbourne
- Sat 6 July: Australia, Third Test, Sydney
The shock call-up sees him feature in a team that also includes England backs Christian Wade and Brad Barritt, who have been called up as injury cover and will arrive in Australia on Monday.
Ireland’s Rory Best will be captain.
Williams, a Test Lion in 2005 and 2009, was due to head to Australia to work as a radio pundit for the three-Test series, which starts on Saturday in Brisbane.
But such is the extent of the injuries among the backline and the need to rest other players that he will join the squad for 48 hours – arriving on Monday, playing on Tuesday and leaving on Wednesday.
Williams, currently in a second season with Mitsubishi Dynaboars in Japan, scored 58 tries in 87 Tests for Wales. His last Test appearance was against Australia 19 months ago, when he scored in the last play of the game.
“He is in pretty good nick,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
“He has been boxing as well, but hopefully that is not going to be needed on Tuesday. We know he is fit and in training and I am sure he will come in and do the jersey proud.”
Shane Williams factfile
- DoB: 26/2/77
- Height: 5ft 7in
- Weight: 12st 8lb
- Position: Wing
- Clubs: Amman United RFC, Neath, Ospreys, Mitsubishi Dynaboars
- Test record: 60 tries (58 for Wales, 2 for Lions) from 91 Tests (87 for Wales, 4 for Lions)
England trio Wade, Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees, who has already arrived in Australia, will all make their Lions debuts on Tuesday.
Wade was withdrawn from England’s second Test team in Argentina so he could travel to Australia in time to play on Tuesday, while Saracens centre Barritt – who was rested from the England tour – will arrive from a holiday in the United States.
With Jamie Roberts’ participation in the first Test – and perhaps the series – in some doubt pending a scan on a potential torn hamstring, Manu Tuilagi still suffering with a sore shoulder and Brian O’Driscoll needing to be carefully managed, the Lions are short of centre options.
Jonathan Davies, the fourth centre in the original squad, who starred in Saturday’s 47-17 win over New South Wales Waratahs, has played more minutes – 265 – on tour than any other player.
The Lions may now need him to start next Saturday’s first Test, so he is rested for Tuesday’s match, while Simon Zebo – a potential contender should George North’s hamstring problem not heal in time – is left on the bench.
Most of the replacements on Tuesday are likely to be involved in the first Test squad, but those selected to start will know their chances of starting against the Wallabies in Brisbane are remote.
Rob Kearney will make his first start of the tour at full-back, while Scotland’s Stuart Hogg gets a second outing at fly-half.
Lock Richie Gray has recovered from a shoulder injury to start in the second row alongside Ian Evans. Toby Faletau starts at number eight, suggesting Jamie Heaslip has booked the Test starting spot.
Lions team: Rob Kearney, Christian Wade, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees, Shane Williams, Stuart Hogg, Ben Youngs; Ryan Grant, Rory Best (capt), Matt Stevens, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Simon Zebo[source:bbc]