British & Irish Lions
The pocket rocket curve ball
Tom Hamilton in Sydney
June 16, 2013
Shane Williams will pull on the famous red jersey once again © PA Photos
Just when you thought you'd seen it all, Warren Gatland goes and plucks the proverbial rabbit from the hat. There were audible gasps from the present media when tour manager Andy Irvine read out Shane Williams' name on the right wing for Tuesday's game against the Brumbies. It is a sight that will capture the imagination and cause the whole of Wales to stop dead at 1040 BST on Tuesday.
Williams last ran out for the Lions in 2009 in the third Test in South Africa. He bagged two tries that day, what odds on him somehow forcing his way into the Test side despite Gatland's assurance to host broadcaster TalkSport that he would be available for his punditry duties on Saturday? Stranger things have happened.
It has been a remarkable few days of call-ups. First Billy Twelvetrees got the nod on Wednesday and was soon on a plane from Buenos Aires to Sydney. And following another bruising encounter on Saturday against the Waratahs, Gatland was on the phone to Stuart Lancaster once again this time calling for Christian Wade's services. The Lions' air miles must be increasing by the second.
Brad Barritt was also drafted in from America, on Tuesday he was pictured alongside Frankenstein at Florida's Universal Studios. And now we have Williams, arriving from Japan. The backline facing the Brumbies will have a Barbarians mentality - a group of talented players thrown together to play a side that has lined up alongside each other all season.
Anything could happen on Tuesday night and before that first Test, that is the Lions for you. In the aftermath of Williams' call-up, a host of former Lions took to Twitter to, with more than a hint of tongue-in cheek, declare their availability for the tour.
So in the space of a week we have gone from George North and Tommy Bowe lining up on the wing for the Lions against the Reds, to diminutive duo Wade and Williams taking to the field against the Brumbies. It's just bizarre, but that's what makes the Lions wonderfully unique.
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Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.