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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Williams wins Six Nations award

Shane Williams
Williams equalled Will Greenwood's Six Nations try-scoring record

Wales' Grand Slam-winning winger Shane Williams has won the RBS Six Nations player of the tournament award.

Williams's six tries inspired Wales to their second clean sweep in four years as the Ospreys ace scored decisive tries in four of Wales' five wins.

His score against France was the 41st try of his international career, breaking Gareth Thomas's Welsh record.

"Being named Player of the Six Nations is a fantastic end to what has been a phenomenal week," he said.

Williams was the clear winner of the prestigious accolade as the 31-year-old earned 55% of the 19,000 votes cast on the RBS Six Nations website.

Gerald Davies
For all the prejudices that rugby is for the big man, Shane Williams is proving that it is not

Wales legend Gerald Davies

Italian number eight Sergio Parisse was ranked second with 14% of the vote, while Wales' Grand Slam-winning captain Ryan Jones finished third.

"This year's Six Nations has been a special Championship for me and for all the boys for lots of reasons," said Williams.

"It is beyond our wildest dreams and this is just the icing on the cake.

"It is an even greater honour to know that it came from a combination of former players' nominations and fans' votes, whose support throughout this year's Championship has been sensational."

Williams's pivotal try against France in the Grand Slam clincher at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday equalled Will Greenwood's championship record set in 2001.

"To be up with the greats in Welsh rugby as the highest try-scorer is incredible," said the twinkle-toed winger who boasts an incredible strike-rate of 41 tries in just 56 Wales caps.

"But it isn't about that, it is about winning the Grand Slam."

One of the Six Nation's enduring images was of Wales' defence guru Shaun Edwards shouting "wow, what a player" as Williams surged past four Italian defenders to score in their record 47-8 rout.

"If any team are ever going to be successful you need three or four players who can do something special and change a match," said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"Shane can do that. He can beat three defenders on his own and it is brilliant for us to have him in the squad.

"What has impressed me about Shane Williams is that I can't remember him making a mistake in this tournament.

"If I had watched him in the past I would have been critical that the brilliant things he did were followed by an error.

"I can't remember him doing that this tournament.


"He loves to get his hands on the ball and he not only excites the fans but he excites the coaches as well.

"When he gets the ball you feel like something special is going to happen."

Welsh wing great Gerald Davies added: "What is great about him is that he assesses the moment to perfection.

"If he needs to side-step, then he will, if he needs to go on the outside of his man, he will, if he needs to take the straight line, he will and I think that that means that his head is always in charge of his legs.

"For all the prejudices over the last few years that it has become the game for the big man, the powerful man, the man of muscle and bone, here's Shane Williams proving that it is not.

"I think that that is the great thing about Shane Williams is that he has disproved the prejudices that have grown up over recent years."

see also
Grand Slammers 1978 v 2008
18 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Williams signs new Ospreys deal
29 Feb 08 |  Ospreys
Wales star Shane stops for artist
25 Feb 08 |  South west
BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment

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