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Wales coach Graham Henry
"It's one of the diseases in this part of the world, put a player on a pedestal and there's only one way to go - down"
 real 28k

Former Wales player Tony Clement
"It's a big week for Shane, as well as the other 14 players"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 09:18 GMT
'Don't turn Williams into Beckham'
Shane Williams
Shane Williams races in for his first Welsh try
Wales coach Graham Henry has launched an attack at the Welsh media's hype surrounding rising rugby star Shane Williams.

Six Nations Championship
The Neath wing keeps his place in the line-up to play England at Twickenham on Saturday, but Henry says England's young newcomers have not faced the same publicity, and has called this ridiculous.

He is pleading for Williams not to be turned into a Welsh version of David Beckham.

"It's probably one of the diseases in this part of the world, put a player on a pedestal and there is only one way to go really - down," said Henry.

"I think that is very difficult for young talented sports people, I guess David Beckham is finding that difficult at the moment.

"I felt, in Shane Williams's case, that it was a difficult situation for him, he played one game for Wales and he was splashed over the front pages of every newspaper in the country and interviewed on television and radio.

"I thought it put a lot of pressure on the young guy.

"But he is a talent and hopefully he will play well against England. Hopefully this hasn't affected him."

Henry, who has constantly urged the Welsh public not to put too much pressure and expectation on the Welsh side added: "England rugby is not their national sport and it gets good coverage but not as much coverage as in this country."

'Feet on the ground'

Meanwhile Williams said he was not overawed by the media-hype following his try-scoring full debut against Italy on Saturday.

Graham Henry
Graham Henry - worries over the Welsh disease
The flying left winger, who will earn his third cap after coming on as a replacement against France, said: "I don't think it's affecting me at all. I try not to take too much notice of it.

"People are starting to recognise me, but back home it's always been like that.

"My friends have always joked about it but I'm enjoying it and my feet are still on the ground."


Wales have made just one change to their team for Saturday's Six Nations clash against England, with Colin Charvis replacing Geraint Lewis at flanker.

Henry also brings Llanelli's New Zealand-born full-back Matt Cardey into his 22 for the first time.

Cardey, who has a grandmother from Gwent, removes the more experienced Dafydd James from replacement duty, having impressed in Llanelli and Wales A colours this season.

Charvis, capped 27 times, clinched his place with an outstanding two-try performance - in front of the watching Henry - when Swansea swept aside Welsh Cup seventh-round opponents Pontypool on Saturday.

Lewis has been troubled by a hamstring problem which forced him off at half-time during the Italy clash.

Other injury concerns - wings Gareth Thomas and Williams, together with centre Allan Bateman - are also now 100%, as Henry retains 12 of the team that destroyed England's Grand Slam dream at Wembley last April.

James, prop Ben Evans and injury time try-scorer Scott Gibbs are the three players who miss out.

British Lions centre Gibbs returned to action in Swansea's weekend clash, but after a seven-week injury absence, is clearly short of match practice.

The game will be a red-letter occasion for Wales captain David Young, whose 42nd Test match appearance sees him overtake Graham Price as his country's most-capped prop forward.

Henry said: "The number six position is an ongoing debate. Colin played very well at the weekend and when he came on against Italy.

"Geraint Lewis played well against France when he came on. But we have decided to give the jersey to Colin."

Wales Team:

15-Shane Howarth, 14-Gareth Thomas, 13-Allan Bateman, 12-Mark Taylor, 11-Shane Williams; 10-Neil Jenkins, 9-Rob Howley; 8-Scott Quinnell, 7-Brett Sinkinson, 6-Colin Charvis, 5-Chris Wyatt, 4-Craig Quinnell, 3-David Young (captain), 2-Garin Jenkins, 1-Peter Rogers.

Replacements: 16-Barry Williams, 17-Spencer John, 18-Ian Gough, 19-Geraint Lewis, 20-Richard Smith, 21-Stephen Jones, 22-Matt Cardey
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See also:

28 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Charvis earns Twickenham recall
28 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
France demolished by injury
24 Feb 00 |  Six Nations
Woodward calls up debutants
24 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Scots opt for change
22 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Black day for Scotland
21 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Intrigue at Twickenham
21 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Irish keen on passion-play
21 Feb 00 |  Rugby Union
Dal Maso out for Scots clash
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