Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales' Shane Williams targets Springboks scalp

Shane Williams
Williams has scored 54 tries in 81 games for Wales

Wing Shane Williams believes Wales are due a victory against South Africa and that the World Cup would be the perfect time to do so.

Wales' solitary victory over the World champions came in 1999 when they won 29-19.

Since then they have lost 12 games against the Springboks, with Williams featuring in eight of those matches.

"South Africa are a side the last three times we've played them we have gone very close," he said.

"But we are fed up of going close. Hopefully, this will be the stage to beat them for once.

"It is a cup competition, and we know what we've got to do. We can't wait for the first game."

Wales face holders South Africa in their opening Pool D fixture in Wellington on 11 September.

And Ospreys wing Williams believes Wales' preparations will hold them in good stead over the coming weeks in New Zealand.

"We have prepared very well for this World Cup," said Williams, who has won 81 caps for his country.

"The guys are looking physically fitter than they've ever been, and a little bit more mentally tough than we were in the last World Cup.

"But all that doesn't matter if you don't perform on the day. We are making sure we are 100% prepared for this massive South Africa game.

"The feeling in the camp is great, and it's good to be part of, but it is all about doing it on the field as well.

"It suits us that we've got South Africa first. It will test both sides to see where we are and how far we've come over the last couple of months."

Wales will be hoping to fare better in New Zealand than they did at the 2007 tournament when they failed to reach the quarter-finals.

They exited the competition after a 38-34 defeat against Fiji in Nantes, a result which led to coach Gareth Jenkins losing his job.

Fiji will be one of Wales' Pool D opponents in New Zealand and Williams, who scored a try in the 2007 defeat, is keen to avoid a repeat.

"I certainly don't want what happened in 2007 happening again," said Williams.

"That defeat was one of the worst days in my rugby career, to be honest. With the World Cup, one mistake and you could be out.

"Every game in this group is going to be tough, but we have prepared well, and the atmosphere in New Zealand is hotting up."


Forwards: (16)

Props: Ryan Bevington, Adam Jones, Paul James (all Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter), Hookers: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets). Locks: Luke Charteris (Dragons), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys). Back-rows: Toby Faletau (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Danny Lydiate (Dragons), Andy Powell (Sale Sharks), Sam Warburton (Blues, capt).

Backs: (14)

Full-backs/wings: Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), Aled Brew (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), George North (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys). Centres: Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets). Fly-halves: James Hook (Perpignan), Stephen Jones, Rhys Priestland (both Scarlets), Scrum-halves: Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Michael Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Blues).