Sunday 23 July 2017

Williams winning race to make England showdown

Wales' record international try-scorer Shane Williams could be fit for the Six Nations opener against England in Cardiff on February 4.

The Ospreys wing has been sidelined since dislocating his shoulder in Wales' home defeat to world champions South Africa last month.

He subsequently underwent surgery and was ruled out for an initial period of 10 to 12 weeks, suggesting he would struggle to make both the England game and Wales' Murrayfield appointment with Scotland eight days later.

But the Ospreys say there is a chance that Williams, who has scored 51 tries in 75 Tests for his country, might feature ahead of the Six Nations.

Ospreys conclude their Heineken Cup pool campaign against Toulon on January 22, which is a possible comeback game for the 33-year-old.

That would be music to the ears of Wales coach Warren Gatland, who has lost teenage Scarlets wing George North -- another shoulder injury victim -- from his early Six Nations plans.

"Shane is five weeks post-op and is coming along well," said Ospreys physiotherapist Chris Towers. "We are rehabbing him as hard as we can. He's making good progress and we aren't ruling out a possible return for the Toulon game, although he still has some way to go yet."

The Ospreys are in a three-way fight with Toulon and Munster to secure top spot in Pool 3 of this season's Heineken Cup, and an automatic quarter-final place.

Gatland, meanwhile, would eagerly welcome a fully fit Williams back to the fold, with Wales losing much of their attacking edge after he went off at half-time in the Springboks Test.

Irish Independent

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