Monday, June 04, 2012

Wales beat the Barbarians as Shane & Martyn Williams bid farewell

Shane and Martyn Williams said farewell to international rugby on Saturday as Wales beat the Barbarians 30-21 in Cardiff. Both players confirmed that they've now retired, while Shane predicted that Wales will do well in Australia.

Wales fielded an understrength side and started well, but fell behind after the experience of the Barbarians XV showed. A good display by some debutants and a solid kicking performance by James Hook ultimately proved the difference.

Winger Williams was playing his final game, although there has been talk of another exhibition game, and considering he still looks in great shape, you never know what he might have had planned. He confirmed that that's it though, as he said goodbye to his loyal supporters.

"That was my final game, and what a great place to have had it. It was a fantastic occasion, and I’ve had a great time. The Millennium Stadium was where it all started for me – and where it has all ended," he said.

"It was very strange playing against Wales, but it was no holds barred on the pitch. The boys are competitive – that’s why they play rugby – and everyone is out there to win. But I went over and had a chat after the game and wished them all the best for the tour."

He believes that Wales will claim a scalp or two in Australia, despite having not beaten the Wallabies in Australia in 43 years. They play a three test series, starting on Saturday in Brisbane.

"It's going to be tough. It is a big ask to win the series against Australia - one of the best sides in the world - on their home turf, but I think that is where we need to get to now. We've won the Grand Slam and we need keep going on an upward curve.

"I do see Wales winning a Test out there - whether or not they win the series I don't know - but they have certainly got a good enough squad," Williams added. 

Below are highlights of the game, including the tries and some of the more memorable moments

Posted by Rugbydump at 1:00 pm | View Comments (22)

Viewing 22 comments

TechnoMouse June 04, 2012 4:24 pm

I was there, great atmosphere and enjoyable game. Best bit was all the Welsh supports shouting "GO ON SHANE!" when he got the ball, then realising he was playing against Wales and cheering on the defense!

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Ando June 04, 2012 4:29 pm

Yawn, how many farewell matches does Shane Williams need? It's getting a little tiresome.

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JabbaWebb June 04, 2012 5:36 pm

Shane is one of the best players in the world, he's devoted most of his life to Welsh rugby (and rugby in general). Just let him have the farewell games mate - he's deserved them.

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Mat Edwards June 04, 2012 4:43 pm

I was there too - and Shane can never have enough farewell matches - the guy is an icon of the rugby world. Well done Shane and well done Wales. Good luck against the Aussies.

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Eggman June 04, 2012 4:46 pm

Pity for Shane Williams not to also finish this game with a try, but I guess you can't have it all. Doesn't look like a great game from Wales, but once their usual starters are back I'm sure they'll improve.

I must say I am a bit worried for Australia in the next few weeks. I somehow can't shake the feeling that they'll lose to Scotland and also lose at least one game to Wales. Im hoping though that Australia will at least beat Scotland and win the overall series... However, the Australian Super rugby teams have been rather average this season and they definately got a bit of a problem in the backline with injuries, especially at full back and fly half (O'Connor, Beale and Leliafano, who had a fantastic season, all injured and Cooper only just back from injury, while Barnes is struggeling for his form)..
This forwards are about as good as Australian forwards get, with only Horwill missing out at least the start of the series if not the whole series. Should be intersting to see how the Rebel's locks shape up against Wales and Scotland if they get any game play... Hope they can keep up with the Welsh.. At least Robinson's back and Pocock's fit. Should be interesting to see Pocock facing up against Warburton, especially now that both are captain

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Pretzel June 04, 2012 6:04 pm

I'm not trying to say he doesn't deserve them or he isn't a fantastic ambassador, but how many more are there going to be? These "farewell Shane" matches are getting a little over done... I just like watching the guy play, I don't think there should be a song and a dance and a crowd of blubbering Welshman every time the bloke picks up a rugby ball "for the last time..."

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Ando June 04, 2012 9:56 pm

Agree 100%! I've never seen such a big deal being made about the retirement of one of the game's "greats".

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WelshOsprey June 04, 2012 6:23 pm

Didn't see anything special from wales.. hook and bishop looked solid in the centres and webb looked good when he came on but other than that we just relied on our defence.
I expect us put out a much stronger/experienced/bigger team against australia.
Really looking forward to see how wales and england do against the top teams.

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Reality June 04, 2012 7:14 pm

So the WRU change the rules regarding Barbarians matches just so they can give their mate Martyn an undeserved 100th cap? That's absolutely ridiculous.

Also, as a few people have mentioned, is this actually Shane Williams's last match? He's had about ten farewell matches now. And he kind of spoiled it by hogging the ball there at the end so that he could try and be the hero, and then throwing a hospital pass when he got himself into trouble. A great player nonetheless.

And I can't believe I saw Mick O'Driscoll actually giving a good scoring pass. The Barbarians mentality has changed him.

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j8a1f3 June 04, 2012 8:48 pm

The WRU have capped Barbarian games before. Only the last 2 to my mind though. It's not special treatment for Martyn anyway.

The Shane documentary on BBC said he was going to play a season for Amman United at home so unfortunately we'll probably hear more "last match" talk next season

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koreaisgood June 05, 2012 6:12 pm

Martyn's first Wales cap was against the Barbarians, so in a way it was a fitting end.

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Jaded Forward June 04, 2012 8:38 pm

I think one aspect of the Shane Williams slew of farewell matches is that he's not just a very good rugby player, but he is also the third all-time international try scorer. When you consider that Campese is really the only one ahead of him from top-tier competition that really makes you recognize how prolific Williams is/was (I reckon that #1 Ohata is stuck with a bit of an asterisk; Japan doesn't face a whole lot of top-end competition, and tries scored against Portugal and Hong Kong just aren't quite the same as those against England or Australia). I've never heard of an all-time all-world greats XV without Campese on it, and his try/game rate was marginally lower than Shane Williams'. So Williams is clearly something of a big deal. Doubly so in Wales.

Here's a hypothetical situation for you (some sci-fi alternate dimension involved): Jonny Wilkinson never went to France, and stayed healthy for his entire career. England did well at the 2011 WC (hypothetical sci-fi, remember?). Following the last match, Wilkinson announces his retirement from BOTH international and club rugby (and on his own terms rather than just no longer being selected). How many farewell matches and tributes and whatnot would he get?

Or if McCaw left today? Habana? O'Dricoll?

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Guy June 04, 2012 9:21 pm

I've been reading some total bullcrap comments here.

It's not as if this was his umphteenthd goodbye match or something. He played his last international match against Australia. Then he played his last home match for the Ospreys. Fortunaly Ospreys got to the final where he had the possibillity to shine one more time. Gladly the media make a big deal of all of these matches.

We knew his last cap was not going to be his last match and we knew he was going to finish the season with Ospreys. So this was his actual goodbye.

So stop whining and enjoy the last minutes of an once in a lifetime amazing player.

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Guest June 05, 2012 12:41 am

Did I see a "tribute game" or "farewell game" for shane over a year ago on here or am I just imagining it??
Anyway good player though, thought martin williams could have let him go there after the first line of the welsh defense seemed to :P

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PiratesRugby June 05, 2012 12:41 am

I've not seen anything more of this game than these highlights but frankly, Wales weren't very impressive. The Barbarians had them. Sure, the Welsh weren't playing all of their stars but the Barbarians weren't exactly a World XV either. And they were all probably nursing serious hangovers.
Who was the ref in that game? He seems to have reinterpreted the laws of obstruction and offside.

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Kettlerugby June 05, 2012 1:22 am

Shane William's 42nd farewell game...

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Kettlerugby June 05, 2012 1:27 am

Also Wales were pretty ordinary

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katman June 05, 2012 8:02 am

Season two of the Shane Williams Farewell Saga is not as good as season one.

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Ronan June 05, 2012 11:09 am

wow, the wales scrum was just taken apart. by the barbarians! does anyone else think wales get away with a lot of obstruction around the fringe of the ruck. i don't think they scored off any of it in this match but there seems to be one lazy runner or purposefully offside welsh player with his hands in the air at every contest.

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Pretzel June 05, 2012 1:57 pm

The thing with this Shane Williams "Saga" is that it is on going and the guy is still in good shape... So I find it irritating.... Ok we get that he was a great or is a great, and we get that Wales want to show him huge appreciation, but these on going never ending retirement parties are just daft.. if the guy is still "so great" as we're constantly told, then stick the Wales 11 shirt on him, or the 16 and keep playing him...

He is either retiring from rugby or not retiring... there is no, "I will play my last game for the Ospreys... oh wait we've actually done better so I'll play some more".. If the guy can still run and doesn't look embarrassing; a la some of the English front rowers who looked like they could have done with a mobility mobile when they were running out for their appreciation caps, then keep him playing...

How many greats have just slipped gracefully into retirement and are still appreciated.. I was never a massive fan of Williams however that documentary that they did put him in a new light for me, but sadly with these on going "bye bye Shane" epics, that slight dislike for the guy is coming back... Either keep playing or just go, don't hang on by your fingernails...

Last I checked this was a "Baa baa vs Wales" match... not a "Shane Williams last ever time in a Baa baa shirt" match...

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ar Kelt June 05, 2012 2:28 pm

Anyway, Shane has signed a good performance (again), and moreover against guys who know him by heart. He had his international Wales farewell, his Ospreys farewell, now his rugby farewell. Fair enough for me, always a pleasure to see him play. Maybe he could play a farewell game with France XV also, would be great ;)

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Pretzel June 05, 2012 6:19 pm

RD needs to get that nasty headbutt video up from the Scotland-Australia game... Ansbro had a lot of blood pouring from his head from it! I'd say at least a 3 month ban for the offending player!!!! Disgraceful!!!

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