British & Irish Lions 2013: Faletau tips Williams to flourish
British & Irish Lions 2013: Wales wing Toby Faletau backs Shane Williams to slot into the side for their Brumbies clash on Tuesday
Toby Faletau admits he was pleasantly surprised by Shane Williams’ call-up to the British & Irish Lions squad and believes he will fit seamlessly into the side for the Brumbies clash on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old retired from international rugby in December 2011 – having made 41 appearances in the Six Nations, winning the Grand Slam twice – and currently plays in Japan.
He was heading to Australia to work as a radio pundit but with numerous injury concerns, Williams, who played for the Lions in 2005 and 2009, has been seconded by Warren Gatland for Tuesday’s match with the Brumbies, the last warm-up game before the first Test.
Williams will line-up on one wing on Tuesday with Christian Wade on the other and Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt in the centres after all three Englishmen were also added to the squad.
Faletau said: “He’s just such a legend I guess and it’s good to have him back.
“I was just shocked to be honest, but it’s great to be able to take the field with him again.
“It’s been a while since he [Williams] retired from international rugby, I haven’t really spoken to him since, just a few messages now and again.
“He’s still playing rugby and he’ll have no problems stepping up, it’s just good to have him here.
“There are two good wingers out there, so we’ll just give them the ball and hopefully they’ll do the rest.”
Twelvetrees and Barritt were added with Gatland preferring not to risk Brian O’Driscoll and Manu Tuilagi, who are slight injury concerns, while Jonathan Davies has played more minutes than anyone else so far.
Jamie Roberts, meanwhile, is rated doubtful for the first Test after limping out of Saturday’s victory over the Waratahs, clutching his right leg.
“Jamie is a grave doubt for this week – there is no doubt about that,” said Lions team doctor James Robson.
“You only had to see how much discomfort he was in at the weekend. However, further assessment will be made later in the week as to his availability going forward.”