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Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 07:32 UK

Williams defended by Lions legend

Shane Williams
Shane Williams has yet to score a point on the Lions tour

Lions legend JJ Williams says wing Shane Williams is trying too hard to be picked for Saturday's first Test against South Africa in Durban.

Williams, who scored five Test tries for the Lions in the 1970s, says the Wales and Ospreys star would easily be in his team if he were to pick it.

He said: "People are going on about Shane playing poorly. He's not playing poorly... he's trying too hard."

On Monday the Lions name the team to face Southern Kings on Tuesday.

Williams says the 32-year-old is being picked on because he is not scoring "special tries", but said part of that was because he was being heavily marked.

He has featured in four of the five warm-up matches on the tour so far, starting three times and coming on as a replacement in the win over the Golden Lions.

Williams did not feature in Saturday's 26-23 win over Western Province and has yet to score a point for the Lions on the tour.

But that would not deter former Llanelli wing Williams, who was part of the Lions tours to South Africa in 1974 and New Zealand in 1977, from selecting him in the Test side.

"Without a doubt I'd pick him," the Lions legend added.

"He can do something out of the ordinary. He can win a Test match for you when you are struggling.

"Listening to his press conferences at the moment, people are on his back but for no reason.

"Shane will be all right if he's in that Test match.

"What I think he's doing wrong - which the coaches should tell him - is wandering into midfield.

"He's popping up into the scrum-half position working too hard.

"I would say stay out more and people create space for him because there's no better finisher."

Williams insists whoever is picked for the team on Saturday must go out fighting.

"If they don't win that first Test, it's going to get harder and harder," stated Williams.

"They've got to be ready to hit the Springboks hard because the Springboks haven't played for three or four weeks, so if we can catch them cold then we can build on it."



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