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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 18 February 2011

Shane Williams dreading retirement date

James Hook and Shane Williams
Williams celebrates Wales' 24-6 over Scotland - the side's first win in nine games

Wales wing Shane Williams admits he is dreading rugby retirement but says he has to be realistic about giving up.

The Ospreys star has pledged to quit the international game after the World Cup, but wants to go out on a high.

"I'll dread the day I hang my boots up because I'm doing a job at the moment that I wouldn't change for the world," he tells the Sport Wales programme.

"I'll be 34 this year... and I want to finish at the top," Wales' record try-scorer told the BBC Sport Wales show.

Williams proved he is still a key member of the Wales team after his two tries helped to seal a much-needed win over Scotland in the Six Nations, taking his scoring tally to 53 tries in 77 internationals.

That try-scoring ability began with a touchdown in his first full caps against Italy in 2000.

His scores against Scotland took him to third in the all-time Six Nations list behind Brian O'Driscoll and Ian Smith.

"I want to make sure I'm still playing my best rugby when I do retire," he insisted.

"I think [this will be my last Six Nations]. I have to be realistic. I can't go on forever.

Shane Williams
Williams celebrates the first of his two Scotland tries with Mike Phillips

"The last thing I want to do is be playing for Wales and have people saying: 'He is too old, he's too slow, what is he still doing there?' Because I would be devastated.

"I have had just a good time. I'd love to go out on a high. I'd love to win the Six Nations and the World Cup. Who knows?

"After this year, providing we have done very well, I will be very happy retiring and letting the likes of the Halfpennys, the Prydies, the Stoddarts, Tom James', [and] whoever else is coming through, have a crack at it.

"Because I have had such a great time, I think they deserve their chance.

"This will be my final year. It will be emotional because I absolutely love playing for Wales.

"It will be tough but I have to be realistic."

As well as considering his international future Williams' contract with the Ospreys expires at the end of the current season.

Williams is currently in negotiations with the region, hinting he does want to stay at the Liberty Stadium. But he will not decide until after the Six Nations Championship ends on 19 March.

But he says he regrets that James Hook and Lee Byrne are leaving the Ospreys at the end of the season to go to Perpignan and Clermont Auvergne respectively.

"Of course no one likes to lose players of Hooky and Byrnie's quality, but in this day and age its going to happen," he said.

The money in France at the moment is almost ridiculous at times. I just hope Welsh rugby doesn't suffer for it

Shane Williams

"It's inevitable really. I don't think the Ospreys have ever, before this, lost players that they didn't want to lose.

"It is tough for the region. It is gutting for me because I'm very close to Lee and Hooky and you never want to see your mates move away.

"It's their livelihood at the end of the day and when you have got French clubs flashing the cash then sometimes it is very difficult.

"The money in France at the moment is almost ridiculous at times. I just hope Welsh rugby doesn't suffer for it but you can't blame the guys.

"You don't want to see your internationals go elsewhere but we have seen that with Steve Jones when he went to Clermont Auvergne and came back.

"Although he was a good player going, I felt he was a much better player coming back. Far more experienced and was a better player for it.

"As a Welsh fan myself I'd love to see the players be able to what they want and stay in Wales and have a successful Welsh international side but you can't have everything you want.

* See the full Shane Williams interview on Sport Wales this Friday on BBC TWO Wales at 2100 GMT.

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see also
Sport Wales: The TV Programme
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Davies injury forces Hook switch
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