Williams flying again for half-century of tries

Wales 33 Argentina 16

Shane Williams's immaculate sense of timing returned to shake off stubborn Argentina and leave the Wales wing on the brink of history. Williams struck twice in the second-half with two delightful moments of opportunism that sealed victory for his team and took his career tally to 50 tries in Test rugby.

The feat, that includes the two scored in the third Lions Test in South Africa last summer, drew the Osprey level with England's Rory Underwood.

By the time he hands over his International Rugby Board Player of the Year title to the 2009 winner next week, Williams may have cemented his place as the greatest finisher in northern hemisphere rugby, with only Japan's Daisuke Ohata and Australia's David Campese ahead of him. Williams, 32, said: "The accolade is a huge bonus and something to tell the children one day, but I'll try not to let it affect me. My job is to score tries so I can't get carried away because I feel there are still more to come.

"When you look back in history to the likes of Campese, it's a massive honour to be mentioned alongside quality players like them. Perhaps I'll catch him one day. It's one of these things that you never write a speech for or talk about, as I never expected it would happen."

The wing added: "At least Andy Powell [the Wales back-row forward] is happy. He told me before the game that he had a few quid on me as I only needed two tries for 50, but I had no idea what he was on about at the time.

"Hopefully, I'll be picked to face Australia and if I score to become the greatest in the northern hemisphere, I'll be a happy man."

Remarkably, iIt was a year ago this week that Williams scored his last try at the Millennium Stadium, against Australia, who Wales face on Saturday.

Warren Gatland, the Wales coach, said that Williams had had a tough time living up expectations. "It's been difficult for Shane with that World Player of the Year tag hanging round his neck for the past 12 months." he said. "He knows he hasn't played as well as he did last year, so this will be great for his confidence."

Doubts still hang over the Welsh scrum without injured Lions tight-head Adam Jones, which will have been noted by the Wallaby scrummagers. Nevertheless, there were clear signs of Wales returning to their best form.

Stephen Jones carved open a 13-3 lead at half-time with one of the cheekiest tries of the autumn. The fly-half tapped a penalty and darted for the corner, with Argentina retreating for the expected kick at goal. Lock Luke Charteris then charged down a kick 20 seconds into the second-half, and Williams did the rest, stepping inside three defenders to score.

Argentina gave Wales a scare when Martin Rodriguez blocked Jonathan Davies's kick to reduce the deficit to 23-16 before more Welsh tackling coughed up the ball and presented Williams with the chance to settle the game.

"Not many teams put 30 points on Argentina and win comfortably, so we're pleased with the performance," Gatland said. "It was a tough game but I'm pleased with the way we defended, the line-out was excellent, we scrummaged pretty well, and we went out to play some rugby," before adding: "But we will have to step up for Australia."

Wales: Tries S Jones, S Williams 2; Conversions S Jones 3; Penalties Jones 2, Halfpenny 2. Argentina: Try Rodriguez; Conversion Rodriguez; Penalties Rodriguez 3.

Wales: J Hook (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), G Cooper (Blues); G Jenkins (Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A Powell (Blues) (D Lydiate, 71), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt). Replacements: A Bishop (Ospreys) for J Davies, 71; T James (Cardiff Blues) for S Williams, 71; D Peel (Sale) for G Cooper, 65; H Bennett (Ospreys) for Rees, 68; Du Jones (Ospreys) for P James, 57; J Thomas (Ospreys) for Charteris; D Lydiate (Dragons) for Powell, 71.

Argentina: H Agulla (Brive); L Borges (Albi), G Tiesi (Harlequins), M Rodriguez (Rosario), M Comuzzi (Pucara); S Fernandez (Hindu), A Figuerola (CASI); R Roncero (Stade Français), M Ledesma (Clermont Auvergne), M Scelzo (Toulouse), M Sambucetti (Bristol), P Albacete (Toulouse), T Leonardi (San Isidro), JMF Lobbe (Toulon, capt), A Abadie (Rovigo). Replacements: H San Martin (Tala) for Tiesi, 75; B Urdapilleta (C.U.B.A) for Comuzzi, 70; A Lalanne (London Irish) for Figuerola, 78; M Ayerza (Leicester) for Scelzo, 65; M Carizza (Biarritz) for Sambucetti, 62; A Campos (Montauban) for Abadie, 70.

Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all