As Shane Williams watched on from the sidelines as his fellow Lions underwent a series of tests at Swansea University this week, the winger has revealed what still motivates him to play rugby after such a long and successful career.
The last two years have probably been the most rewarding yet for Shane, having seen him play his part in a second Grand Slam success with Wales, break the try scoring record for his country and extend his existing Ospreys record, and then, last November, he was crowned IRB World Player of the Year. Having gone on to tour with the Lions this summer for a second time, he helped himself to two tries in the final test against the Springboks, reinforcing his reputation as one of the games deadliest finishers.
However, despite all this success, Shane insists that motivation won’t be a problem for him, with both individual and family pride providing him with the drive to keep going. He said:
“What motivates me? I still love the game, first and foremost, and that drives me forward. I’ve still got the energy, I still feel sharp and believe that I can offer something to any team I play in, and as long as I’ve got that feeling then I’ll want to pull on my boots and get out onto the pitch as that’s where I enjoy being most. Winning awards are a nice honour, but what you get a buzz from is scoring tries and helping your team to win matches and competitions. Yes, I’ve got the try record for Wales and the Ospreys, but I want to keep on playing, to keep on scoring tries to take the totals even higher and make my records even harder to beat in the future, to make sure they stand for longer.
“What’s very important to me, is that I’ve got two kids and I want them to be able to see me play. I’ve got a daughter who is still young and it’s only now that she’s starting to realise what I do and where I go to work, although I don’t think she’s really grasped it, while my son is only a baby and has some way to go yet. I’d love them both to be able to recognise me on the pitch, and to enjoy something of my career before I hang up my boots. That’s probably a few years away yet but it would give me enormous pride to be able to share that with my family, and the thought of doing it will provide me with motivation to keep performing at the top level for a few years yet.”
Shane sat out some of the more demanding physical tests that the returning Lions underwent, as he is still in rehab after having routine surgery on his shoulder last month. However, he insists that he is raring to go again and can’t wait to get stuck into his pre-season properly. He added:
“It’s still a little bit sore, but I suppose that’s to be expected as it’s only four weeks since I had the op. I’ve had a bit of a niggle there for a while now, for most of last season, and I’ve played through it but it had to be done. The timing now is perfect, I was always going to sit out the first few weeks of the new season because I was away with the Lions into July, so it made sense to get it sorted now and get it right for the coming season, we planned for this a while ago.
“It’ll be a couple of weeks before I’m back training properly, and then another two or three weeks again before full contact. It’s frustrating at the moment as I can’t lift heavy weights and I can’t run properly because of the shoulder but before I know it, I’ll be all systems go and working hard to get back to full fitness for the season.
“I always enjoy pre-season, I think the worst bit is the feeling before you get started, you always fear how difficult it is going to be, but I only have to be back in for a day and I’m really excited again about the new season and what our prospects are. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I work doing something that I love, so it’s not really a case of dragging yourself in to work in the morning and getting on with it, I really look forward to coming in and getting my head down, and as long as I feel that way I’ll keep on going.
“I’ve seen that season tickets are up for the new season which is excellent news for the region, We’ve always had great support and it gives everyone a huge lift to run out in front of a good crowd at your home ground, and hopefully, we can put on the kind of performances this season that will excite fans and keep people coming.”