After his dazzling solo try ensured that the Ospreys came out on top against London Irish on Friday night, Shane Williams was quick to ensure the plaudits went to his team-mates for the way they responded to the disappointment of late defeat in Toulon last week.
Williams marked his 50th Heineken Cup appearance with a stunning effort launched from deep inside Ospreys territory, a score that brought the Liberty Stadium crowd to its feet and was described by London Irish coach Toby Booth as ‘fantastic’, but he says the win was about more than just his score. Speaking post-match, he said:
“We were under pressure to play well tonight after a disappointing game last week in Toulon, and I’m proud of the way the boys responded. We did what we had to against a very good London Irish side.
“Last week we didn’t get enough of the ball, I think it was 30 per cent in the end and you can’t do much with that. We’ve certainly got some dangerous players in the side, Hooky showed that at the start to get Tommy in. When we’ve got the ball, and go through the phases, we look dangerous. It was a very tough game tonight, under pressure, but we did well.
“Stopping them from getting a bonus point was important. To take every point you can in this tournament is key. They certainly came down here to play rugby, we knew that and they certainly played to the expectations. They’ve got some dangerous players behind and they threw the ball around. They played right to the end and they fought to get that bonus point. That was a bonus point for us I suppose, making sure that they didn’t get that.”
Shane was quick to pay tribute to the performance of man-of-the-match Ryan Jones, playing in an unfamiliar position.
“Tonight goes to show how versatile Ryan is” he said.
“It was a bit of a shock to everyone I suppose. He had a great game tonight, it was great to see him back on the field in any position. He has got that presence, that’s why he’s been captain over the years. It’s just nice to see him on the field, whether he’s playing six, eight, or four or five. He certainly brought the forwards out a little bit. We played some good rugby at times, and showed that we can keep the ball, not give it away and turn it over so much. I thought all the forwards were exceptional and it was a good all round performance.”
Another dazzling first half run almost brought him a try earlier in the game, only for his progress to be halted after he attempted to hurdle Irish fullback Topsy Ojo, but he says that Commonwealth Gold Medallist David Greene has nothing to fear:
“I’ve found it very difficult to get involved in games recently, they’ve been so tight. Tonight I felt sharp and I had two opportunities. The first one, I was a little bit disappointed that I lost the ball. You can see I’ve been watching the Commonwealth Games can’t you? I don’t think Dai Greene is very nervous about that one.
“Topsy Ojo is a very good defender, he’s very quick as well, I just assumed I wasn’t going to go around him, I certainly wasn’t going to go through him and it was a last gasp attempt to just get over him! Luckily enough he didn’t even touch me I don’t think, but there was cover defence there and I got absolutely creamed in the end and lost the ball so a bit disappointing.
“I’m lucky that I managed to get the second one, but the most important thing tonight was the win.”