Rugby World Cup 2011: Shane Williams targets Cup-winning exit

By Graham ThomasBBC Sport Wales
Shane Williams
Shane Williams expects the 2011 World Cup to be his last tournament

Shane Williams insists his Welsh international career could end with a winner's medal at the World Cup.

The Ospreys wing, 34, has hinted the tournament in New Zealand will be his international farewell.

But the man who has scored a record 54 Wales tries believes he can bow out in a blaze of glory.

"I would love to go to this World Cup and be very successful - go and win it, to be perfectly honest," Williams told BBC Wales' Sport Wales TV programme.

"I know there will be a few smirks when I say that but I do firmly believe that on our day we can beat anyone.

"That's why I am excited going to this World Cup. New Zealand will be favourites, but it's a cup competition and anything can happen."

This will be Williams's third World Cup. He played in Australia in 2003, when Wales reached the quarter-finals, and was there four years ago as part of a squad that failed to progress to the knockout stages.

He says: "This will be my third World Cup. Getting to one quarter-final and then not even making the quarter-final stages is not my idea of success.

"I set high standards for myself. Wherever I play, be it for my region or for my country, I always want to be successful. That's my nature.

"I have said this will probably be my last competition in a Welsh shirt, but nothing is written in stone.

"But I've got to be realistic. There are a lot of guys in my position at the moment who are playing some great rugby.

"They will probably keep me out of the position anyway and I would rather retire than be retired. But you never say never.

"If I could get my own way I'd continue to play for Wales until I was 70, but that's not going to happen.

"We will have to see what is around the corner. But I'd certainly be happy to hang my boots up if I've got a World Cup medal around my neck."

Williams missed the last two months of last season, but insists that despite some small injury concerns he will be fit to face South Africa on Sunday, 11 September in Wellington.

"I have a few little niggling injuries that have been plaguing me recently, but I'm certainly almost up to top fitness.

"At my age, you take the niggling injuries, but I know that I could be right by tomorrow if need be and I'll make sure I'm 100% fit for the South Africa game.

"These are the games you want to be playing. The best games in the world are the World Cup ones and I'll make sure I'm right for that match."

See the full interview on Sport Wales, 1900 BST on Friday on BBC Two Wales.