Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shane's Feeling the Pain but Is Determined to Shine Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shane's Feeling the Pain but Is Determined to Shine Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent in association with

SHARKS 3 LIONS 39

SHANE WILLIAMS has admitted that the pressure and expectation of carrying the mantle of world player of the year is affecting his form. The winger looked out of sorts again last night as his Welsh team-mate Mike Phillips powered the Lions to a moraleboosting 39-3 victory over the Sharks in Durban.

While many of his colleagues were cementing their places in the starting line-up for the First Test with South Africa on 20 June, Williams looks an increasingly forlorn figure.

He was, at least, better than in his previous outing against the Cheetahs when he threw a loose pass which the opposition intercepted and it nearly cost the Lions their unbeaten record.

Williams is unfailingly honest about his current form and said: "I am enjoying my rugby even if things don't go my way and I am not going to stay in bed and cry myself to sleep for 24 hours -- I am going to work at it.

"This is one of the toughest tours that you are ever going to experience and I didn't expect for one second that this season was going to be like last season. That was almost a one-off that I couldn't have dreamt about and saw me win the award.

"I knew people would be ready to pounce on me if things didn't go right and I do feel the pressure on and off the pitch but I will become a better player if I can cope with that.

"It's what I am trying to do at the moment. I am not trying to get the ball every time it comes from a ruck because I am being man-marked and I have to learn to deal with that and not force things. I have to give myself a slap when I do take a backward step.

"I am working my socks off over here and I am not letting any comments affect me. The day I don't enjoy it, I will hang my boots up and if I could be part of a Test team that beat the Springboks then it would be the cherry on the cake. There are a lot of guys putting their hands up for Test places and it will be an anxious week and a half until the management reveal the team. …

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