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North eager to fill Williams' boots

George North -- Welsh rugby's heir-apparent to wing wizard Shane Williams -- has paid the diminutive superstar a towering tribute.

North was just seven years old when Williams arrived on the international stage he went on to grace throughout an 87-cap career that reaped a Wales record 58 tries.

Australia won Saturday's match 24-18 yet Williams still marched triumphant with a last-gasp try. Emotion was everywhere and long after the final roar of appreciation had faded, North spoke for a grateful nation.

"If I can have half the career Shane has had, then I will retire a happy man," he said. "It was a great way for him to finish, but I am devastated to have lost him as a player and friend in the squad. I wish he would play for a bit longer just to give me a bit more of his wisdom.

"He is Welsh rugby -- there is no bigger compliment I can give him.

"He works so hard on and off the pitch to be the best he can be. Even on the day he retired he was one of the better players out there. He was still running lines and making awesome offloads.

"Shane is a one-off. I am a different shape to him physically, but I can take stuff from his game and put it into my own."

Irish Independent