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Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Saturday, 4 July 2009 22:31 UK

Williams thrilled with Lions bow


Williams hails 'incredible' lions fans

By Simon Austin
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Shane Williams was delighted with his performance after he inspired the British and Irish Lions to a 28-9 win over South Africa in the third Test.

The Welsh winger, who is the reigning world player of the year, scored two first-half tries at Ellis Park.

"It was one of my best performances. I knew it was my last chance in a Lions shirt and I just wanted to go out on a high," the 32-year-old told BBC Sport.

"It wasn't just the tries, I was happy with my all-round game."

Williams, who was named man of the match, was making his first start of the Test series against the Boks.

After struggling to discover his best form in South Africa, he understands why Tommy Bowe, Ugo Monye and Luke Fitzgerald were preferred to him for the first two Tests.


"I know I haven't played to my potential, which is frustrating," said Williams.

"I don't blame people for doubting me because I know I haven't been playing as well as I could.

"But I've known I was good enough from the start, it was just about getting that performance.

"This was a massive game for me - I knew eyes were on me and that there were a lot of doubters out there.

"I also knew it was my last game for the Lions, so I had to go out and perform.

"I just went out there, didn't force anything, got as involved as I could and played particularly well.

"I didn't go out to dazzle, it was all about working players outside me. When I got my hands on the ball I could see the Boks were looking at me to do something. But when I offloaded it meant just as much to me."

Even though he has only played a bit-part in a series the Lions lost 2-1, Williams said the tour would go down as one of the highlights of his career.

"From day one it's been special," he said. "We've been a tight-knit family, worked hard on and off the field and made some great friends.

Ugo Monye, Shane Williams and Riki Flutey
We knew it was the last time we would play with this squad, this bunch of guys, and you don't need more motivation than that

"There are no egos, no worries about people being bigger than others.

"It was disappointing to lose the series, because we felt we deserved something out of it, but the game was incredible and I was really proud to be part of it."

Number eight Jamie Heaslip, who pushed Williams hard for the man-of-the-match award after an outstanding individual performance, praised the Lions coaches for their part in the victory.

Head coach Ian McGeechan took the players on a safari after their heart-breaking defeat in the second Test last Saturday - a decision Heaslip describes as "a blinder".

"They allowed us to let off a bit of steam and when we came back in on Wednesday we were ready to go," said the Irishman.

"The last word from them before the game was a warning that all the good work of the last six weeks would be undone if we didn't play to our potential.

"We knew it was the last time we would play with this squad, this bunch of guys, and you don't need more motivation than that."

The Lions fly back to London's Heathrow Airport on Monday.

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see also
Shaw handed two-week suspension
05 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
McGeechan hails outstanding Lions
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Smit defends Botha protest stance
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 9-28 Lions
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
SA v Lions photos
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions Test debuts for English duo
02 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
SA's Burger handed eight-week ban
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union

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