Friday 15 December 2017

Davies hails wing wizards Bowe and Williams as world's best

Phil Cadden

WELSH '70s legend Gerald Davies has hailed Shane Williams and Tommy Bowe as the best wingers in the world ahead of today's Six Nations showdown.

Lions team-mates Williams and Bowe line up against each other when Wales face Ireland in Dublin. And Lions tour manager Davies believes the Ospreys pair are on fire right now ahead of their eagerly awaited showdown at Croke Park.

"Shane and Tommy are the best wingers in Europe, if not the world, at the moment," Davies said. "The two of them stand out quite clearly and are brilliant players.

"Of course, there are other fine wingers like Bryan Habana in South Africa and we are lucky in Wales we have a talented, young wing coming through in Leigh Halfpenny. But Shane and Tommy are the leading wingers of their day."

While both are hugely talented judging by their try-scoring feats a fortnight ago, the contrast between the two Lions stars could not be any more different. Former Ulsterman Bowe, who joined Williams at the Liberty Stadium in 2008, is eight inches taller and almost four stones heavier than Wales' pint-sized wonder. But Williams and Bowe have each inspired their countries to Grand Slam success in the past two years.

Bowe (26) silenced Twickenham with his double two weeks ago and became only the second player to touch down in every round of pool games in the Heineken Cup this season.

And on the last meeting at international level between the pair at the Millennium Stadium almost a year ago, Bowe out-sprinted his rival to score a vital second-half try and lead Ireland to a historic first Grand Slam in 61 years.

But write Williams (33) off at your peril as Wales aim to put the record straight following a dismal two wins from their previous nine meetings against Ireland.

"They are both great players but a contrasting pair," Davies added. "Each has their own special gifts but they are not the same. One is a dancer of a player while the other is fast and powerful with big strides.

"Shane was having a quiet time against France but when the moment came at the end, he showed the sparkle, the dynamism and the trickery to score a wonderful try.

"Tommy is bigger, more powerful, but also for a big man he can move very lightly on his feet, as he showed at Twickenham.

"He showed under extreme pressure that he can pull the rabbit out of the hat when it was needed and make a significant contribution to the game.

"Both of them showed two weeks ago that they are influential try-scorers, strong finishers and match-winners. That's the crucial difference between them and the other players."

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