Shane Williams crowned IRB World Rugby Player of the Year

Shane Williams - Rugby Player of the Year

Shane Williams has been crowned International Rugby Board world player of the year at a glittering awards ceremony in London.

The Ospreys wizard scooped the top prize when the winner was announced following a lavish Emirates Airlines-backed dinner at Old Billingsgate in the heart of London.

He emerged from a five-strong shortlist containing Wales captain Ryan Jones, New Zealand great Dan Carter, Italy skipper Sergio Parisse and Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair.

The wing cemented his place as Wales’s all-time top try-scorer with a 44th touchdown in 61 Tests when he unravelled the Australian defence after three minutes in Cardiff. It is an extraordinary strike-rate, given that Wales have had their downs as well as their ups during his time in the team, but he has proved conclusively that in an era in which big is usually perceived as best, the small man with pace, guile and brilliant footwork can still win the accolades.

Williams when interviwed said “It’s been a hell of a year and this has just capped it off really,It’s quite mad to be honest,” said Williams.

“It’s the biggest honour you can get as an individual in rugby and it’s totally overwhelming.

Just being nominated was humbling. And to receive the award from Bryan Habana, who is one of the best – if not the best – wing in the world means so much to me.

I was more nervous up there on stage than I was facing the haka against the All Blacks on Saturday!”

Puma V1-08 Rugby Boots

Williams, who wears Puma’s speed boots the Puma V-108, will now be surely looking to a successful rest of the season with the Ospreys, Wales and the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa looming.