Ospreys legend, Shane Williams, is one of twelve people who will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame this week.
He is among four England players, three Welshmen, a Scot, an Irishman, a Japanese legend, an Australian and a Canadian will be honoured at a special ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the physical visitor experience in Rugby, England on 17 November. It will also be attended by a host of other rugby luminaries as the Hall of Fame establishes a physical home for the very first time.
The full list of new inductees (with induction number and country) is:
Brian O'Driscoll (121, Ireland), Shane Williams (122, Wales), Jeremy Guscott (123, England), Lawrence Dallaglio (124, England), Heather Moyse (125, Canada), John Dawes (126, Wales), GPS Macpherson (127, Scotland), Arthur Gould (128, Wales), Jonny Wilkinson (129, England), Daniel Carroll (130, Australia and USA), Daisuke Ohata (131, Japan) and Maggie Alphonsi (132, England).
Confirmation of the class of 2016 takes the grand total of inductees to 132 with each celebrated and profiled within a physical experience in the birthplace of the game that will be fully-interactive, immersive and delivered in multiple languages.
Despite his diminutive stature, Shane’s lofty standing in the game is beyond doubt.
Wales’ record try scorer with 58 tries in 87 test appearances, Williams was a crowd-pleaser who could beat defenders at will with a devastating side-step or blistering turn of pace.
Awarded his first cap by Graham Henry against France in 2000, Williams enjoyed 11 years at the top and was also capped four times by the Lions, scoring twice in the victorious third test against South Africa in 2009. His five tries against Manawatu on the 2005 tour to New Zealand equalled the Lions’ single-game record.
Twice a Grand Slam winner with Wales, Williams became the first and only Welshman to be named IRB Player of the Year in 2008. He also appeared in three Rugby World Cups, from 2003-2011, scoring six tries in the 2007 edition before helping Wales reach the semi-finals at the next tournament in New Zealand.
An Ospreys ‘original’ who won four league titles and an Anglo-Welsh Cup in his nine years with the region, his 141st and final appearance was the unforgettable 2012 PRO12 final in Dublin, where his two tries helped the Ospreys to a one-point win over Leinster. His 57 tries remains an Ospreys record, 20 more than the next highest tally in the list, Nikki Walker’s 37.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, who will be in attendance at the induction ceremony this week, said:
"The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.
"The latest set of inductions includes some real legends, players who have helped to shape the image of rugby and inspire generations of fans. They are truly some of the biggest names in our sport and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top-level rugby over the decades. Each of these 12 inductees has made a positive impression on the sport that will last the test of time.
"While the Hall of Fame has been in existence for some years, it is exciting that finally it will have a permanent home and fitting that it should be in the town that gave our game its name, Rugby. The physical Hall of Fame will be a wonderful focal point for the game and will attract fans from all over the world to relive the great exploits of rugby's most prominent and talented individuals.”
For more information about the World Rugby Hall of Fame and profiles of the inductees, click here.