Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Johnson: Williams may face England

Shane Williams (centre)

Ospreys director of rugby Scott Johnson has not ruled out the possibility of wing Shane Williams starting for Wales against England in the opening RBS 6 Nations clash in Cardiff on February 4.

The British and Irish Lions star came off the replacements' bench after 57 minutes and sparked the Ospreys towards a 29-17 victory over Toulon by creating the first of three tries and putting in a sparkling 20 minutes of wing play.

Talking about Williams' impressive 20 minutes after 10 weeks out with a shoulder injury, Johnson said: "I didn't expect that. He had done some work but he didn't look as sharp as that in training. There is no logical reason after watching him train that he could have done that. It was amazing when he came on how sharp he did look."

He added: "Physically he is a little way behind but I would never say never about him making it for England. He defies logic. Put it this way: if I was the coach against him and he came off the bench I would be scared."

As for his team's performance, Johnson said: "We are happy with the result and the win. But it doesn't lessen the blow of not making the quarter-finals.

"It's a very fine line in Europe between winning and losing. We have got to get the bogey off our back (next season) and get that big away win. We haven't mastered that art. A bit of diligence and a bit of luck and we will get there."

Responding to reports that Mike Phillips was on his way out of the Liberty Stadium, Johnson said: "Mike Phillips is our player for the next three years as far as I'm concerned."

Toulon came with almost a second team having already topped the group and qualified for the quarter-finals. Captain and scrum-half Matt Henjak defended the team's decision to field just one survivor - Jonny Wilkinson - from the win over Munster last week.

"The Ospreys wanted it more. I'm really proud of the guys. We made 14 changes," said Henjak.

"But we are a squad of 35 to 38 players and everyone is a professional. We should be ready to play and we were ready to play. We just got beaten by a better team."

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