Rugby World Cup 2011
Williams sympathy for axed team-mate
ESPNscrum Staff
August 27, 2011
Wales wing Shane Williams grounds the ball one-handed, England v Wales, Rugby World Cup warm-up, Twickenham, England, August 6, 2011
Shane Williams has scored more tries for Wales than any other player © Getty Images

Shane Williams has admitted that he has an enormous amount of sympathy for namesake Martyn after the veteran flanker was left out of Wales' World Cup squad.

Martyn has been a tremendous servant of Welsh rugby since making his Test debut against the Barbarians 15 years ago, playing a key role in the Six Nations Grand Slam successes of 2005 and 2008, and he had hoped to make his 100th appearance for his country in New Zealand. However, there was no room for the Cardiff Blues back-row in Warren Gatland's 30-strong panel when it was announced earlier this week.

"It is disappointing for Martyn, especially as he is on his 99 caps," Shane Williams told the Western Mail. "You have to feel for the guy because he has given so much to Wales.

"I really do feel for him, but it was always going to be a tough choice being selected for the squad because the competition was so intense this year. Jonathan Thomas and a few other boys have been left out too, but we just have to concentrate on the tournament now because it will be here before we know it."

Concentration will certainly be key for Williams, who has stated that he will retire from international rugby after the World Cup. He is certain to do so as his country's all-time record try-scorer, having already notched 54 tries in 81 appearances, and he admits that the prospect of calling time on his Wales career is already playing on his mind.

"I don't want to get too emotional about it being my last few times wearing the shirt but deep down I will be thinking that," the Ospreys wing said. "It is another competition for me and I want to go there, train well and make sure Warren finds it difficult to not pick me for these games.

"When I do play I will give it my all and that is all I am thinking about at the moment. I am determined to play in these games and to be successful.

"It is a third World Cup for me and they have all been different in terms of my own circumstances and trying to get in the side. I'm just really looking forward to it because it has been a tough couple of months coming back from injury. It is just as special as ever."

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