Williams feeling the pressure

Shane Williams is well aware that he needs a solid performance against the Emerging Boks if he has any hope of playing in either of the last two Tests.

While the likes of Ugo Monye and Tommy Bowe have been amongst the top try-scorers for the tourists, the 2008 IRB Player of Year has struggled for form and has failed to register a single try in his five appearances for the Lions thus far.

‘It’s a massive game and could possibly be my last Lions game ever,’ Williams told keo.co.za. ‘I just want to be involved as much as I can on this tour and I said that from the start.

‘I know that I need a big game tomorrow for me to have any chance of playing in the last two Tests. It’s all up to me I suppose on the day and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.’

The forecast is for wet and windy conditions at Newlands on Tuesday – certainly not the kind of environment suited to spreading the ball wide. But Williams is not discouraged by the infamous Cape weather.

‘It means I’ll probably have to go looking for a bit more work, maybe more than I have throughout the tour.

‘One of the disappointing things on the tour has been that I haven’t been able to get my hands on the ball that often. So if the ball is not going to get out onto the wing too often, then I’m going to go looking for work, and that usually suits my kind of game.’

The 32-year-old admitted that due to the lack of opportunities with ball in hand, he has found himself on occasions trying a bit too hard.

‘Maybe when the ball does come my way, I’m trying to look for things to do before I’ve even touched the ball.

‘I’ve found it very difficult to get into the games so far and there are a lot of factors [which have contributed to my poor form] and there is no one more disappointed than me with the way things have gone.’

Williams also confessed that the tag of IRB Player of the Year has made him more of a marked man this year, but it was something he had expected.

‘I knew that it was going to be difficult this year. The attention seems to be on myself constantly, whether it’s on or off the field. But I’m a big boy now and I know that I have to deal with that, and hopefully it will make me a better player.

‘I’ve felt the pressure, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but I like to think I’m a good enough player now to hold all that pressure on my back. It has been difficult, but I think I’ve still got a lot more to offer.

‘I was really glad when I was named in the starting line-up and I want to prove a few people wrong.’

By Andrew Worling, in Cape Town