RUGBY legend Shane Williams is being backed to end his career with a bang in what could be the wing’s last ever appearance in front of his own fans when the Ospreys clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Dragons head to the Liberty Stadium on Friday with the aim of gatecrashing the Wales and Lions great’s party and trying to dent the Ospreys’ RaboDirect PRO12 hopes.
The Ospreys are currently second in the table and are well placed to make the play-offs.
They are also looking to build on their great recent run of form which saw them win two huge away games, 23-22 in Dublin at league leaders Leinster and then crush Cardiff Blues 33-12 on Saturday.
For the Dragons pride is at stake after Friday’s night bitterly disappointing 33-32 defeat at Rodney Parade to Treviso and a 27-19 loss to Connacht in Newport at the end of the month.
Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys said this week’s showdown with the Dragons is a huge one not only for his side but the 32-year-old Williams who won the Grand Slam with Wales in 2005 and 2008.
“Friday is a massive occasion, with Shane playing what could be his last game in Swansea,” he said.
“He’s a huge member of this squad and we want to give him the best send-off we can. We want to make sure we mark his finishing by giving the kid the respect he deserves.”
Williams won 87 caps for Wales and scored a record 58 tries for his country, the last coming with the final play of the game in his last international appearance in the 24-18 defeat to Australia in December.
Humphreys added about the 2005 and 2009 Lion: “All the superlatives have been used up for him. Suffice to say this group would love to see him go with a bang.
“I remember thinking he would never make it when I saw him playing as a kid coming through, he looked too small. But he’s proved everyone wrong to be one of the best finishers in the game. I don’t think there’s been anyone better than him, ever.
“You don’t often get a kid who has that much skill and gas and can back it up with a ton of guts.
“He’s been a pleasure to watch. You only have to consider the impact he’s had as a world player of the year playing for this region, coming from this region and wanting to finish his career here. He’s been unbelievable.”
Williams retired from international rugby at the end of 2011 and will bow out of the game at the end of this season.