They might be polar opposites in terms of international pedigree, but there are striking similarities between Shane Williams and Christian Wade, which bodes well for British and Irish Lions supporters ahead of Tuesday’s tie against ACT Brumbies.
The Lions head to Canberra with a number of injury worries, providing a perfect opportunity for the likes of Wade to lay down a marker, especially given the absence of the tour’s two stand out wingers, George North and Tommy Bowe.
The Wasps man is only one inch taller than 5ft 7in Williams – who scored 60 tries in 88 international matches – whereas North and Alex Cuthbert are 6ft 4in and 6ft 6in respectively.
But according to Williams, Wade has the skill to make it: “Christian’s a very aggressive runner, very fast, and enjoys taking defenders on… he’s my kind of guy.”
Last season he was voted by his fellow Wasps as their Players’ Player of the Season, and by the rest of the Premiership as both the RPA Players’ Player and Young Player of the Year – an extraordinary achievement in a league brimming with international talent.
Subsequently, a price of 8/1 for Wade to score first or 5/4 for him to cross anytime with Ladbrokes certainly appeals. Alternatively, 38-year-old Williams, who has six in three so far this season and scored two tries in the Lions’ last Test outing against South Africa, is 9/1 first or 11/8 anytime.
Elsewhere, Ladbrokes have the Lions to win on a -12.0 handicap at 10/11, which looks excellent value considering they have only won by less than 12 once on this tour, and this is the final opportunity for the squad to stake a Test claim.
As the highest placed of the Super Rugby outfits the Brumbies will pose a threat, but compared to the 528 Test caps the tourists can boast, ACT have 28, all belonging to either Clyde Rathbone (26) or Peter Kimlin (2).
All odds and markets are correct at the time of publication.