Thomas: Williams made it big
Prolific winger will make final Wales appearance against Wallabies
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 29/11/11 6:06pm
Gareth Thomas and Shane Williams at the 2007 World Cup
Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas paid tribute to Shane Williams ahead of the winger's international swansong against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Williams debuted for Wales in 2000 and has since made 86 appearances for his country and four for the Lions.
During that span he has scored a national record 57 tries for Wales and has been a consistent game-breaker despite, at 5ft 7in, his relative lack of height in the modern game.
"Shane's a great player, world class, and blew away the theory that you have to be big to make it in international rugby," Thomas told skysports.com.
"He's short but in no means slight in any way. He is strong, works hard.
"When there is a player at the highest level who can change a game on his own, that means you have a great player - and Shane can definitely do that.
"Shane is a special player and it will be a sad day for the Wales fans and team to see him finish.
"When there is a player at the highest level who can change a game on his own, that means you have a great player - and Shane can definitely do that."
Gareth Thomas Quotes of the week
"He's been wonderful for Wales, one of the greatest ever and nobody can take that away from him."
While Williams is taking his leave after a decorated career, Thomas believes the future is rosy for Wales.
Warren Gatland's men reached the semi-final of the recent World Cup under the leadership of Sam Warburton, who turned 23 in October.
"There is a lot of youth in there and the future of Welsh rugby looks bright," said Thomas.
"The only thing I hope is that they can cope with the pressure, because a lot of pressure comes with expectation.
"If this young Wales team can handle that pressure, then the sky is the limit for them as on their day they are capable of beating anybody."