Welsh Rugby
Shane Williams confirms Japan switch
ESPN Staff
June 13, 2012
Legendary winger Shane Williams bids farewell to the game, Wales v Barbarians, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, June 2, 2012
Shane Williams has opted to play a season in Japan despite announcing his retirement © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Shane Williams
Tournaments/Tours: RaboDirect PRO12
Teams: Japan | Wales

Shane Williams has confirmed that he will journey to Japan to continue his playing career labelling it a "great opportunity".

Williams played for the Barbarians against Wales on June 2 in what was meant to be his professional swansong after calling time on his career last season, but a last minute phone call from Japan forced him to change his mind. Williams has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the Mitsubishi Dynaboars, worth a reported £600k, and he will link up with his new side in August.

"At first I said no, it came as a real surprise and the offer only came shortly before the Barbarians match," Williams told Wales Online. "But then when I sat down with my wife to discuss it we realised what a great opportunity it would be. So we're all going and I'm excited. I have spoken to players who know what it is like out there, the likes of Mils Muliaina, Jerry Collins and George Smith, and they all said the life experience is fantastic.

"That helped persuade me to give it a go. It's a bit of a step into the unknown, but one hell of a challenge."

The Ospreys announced back in February that Williams would take on a backroom role with the club next season after he confirmed his retirement, but that will now have to wait.

"The Ospreys have given me their blessing and I'm grateful to them for that," Williams said. "I never thought I would get the chance to go and play somewhere like Japan and I really feel this has to be grabbed while it is there.

"It's been an incredible season for me, finishing with Wales and then ending the season on such a high with the Ospreys by winning the RaboDirect title, and I really thought the Barbarians game would be my very last. But sometimes life has surprises and that's what this was. I was all ready to hang my boots up.

"To be honest it is a little bit daunting. But I'm going to go out there and try to throw myself into it and I hope we can all settle as a family. It's a new culture and it is obviously going to take a bit of getting used to for someone like me who has always valued his roots so much. But it's not forever and I'll be coming back to Wales."

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