Shane Williams has been drafted in to the British and Irish Lions squad ahead of the final warm-up clash against ACT Brumbies on Tuesday.
The former Wales wing joins Englishmen Christian Wade and Brad Barritt in linking up with the squad, as a host of backline injuries have struck Warren Gatland’s team with the opening Test match against Australia on Saturday looming large.
Williams – a Lions Test member in 2005 and 2009 – announced his retirement from international rugby in 2011 but will make a brief return after accepting the Kiwi’s call and will be with the squad for 48 hours, leaving on Wednesday.
It is a sign of the squad’s strength and depth however that Gatland can call upon experienced hands such as Williams, who boasts 87 Welsh caps and 58 tries, including two Grand Slam Six Nations successes.
Gatland said: “He is in pretty good nick.
“He has been boxing as well, but hopefully that is not going to be needed on Tuesday. We know he is fit and in training and I am sure he will come in and do the jersey proud.”
The 36-year-old will be the oldest player in the squad by some two years from Brian O’Driscoll, and will surely provide a welcome dose of experience and know-how to the younger members of the Lions ahead of Saturday’s opener.
Williams’ is currently playing for Mistubishi Dynoboars in Japan and his inclusion can only be viewed as a good thing for the Lions in preparation for Saturday.
The team are 8/13 to win the first of the three Tests against Australia, with Gatland doing his best to ensure his squad are as rested and injury-free as possible.
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