Shane Williams: King of the Wingers?

Sean KellyAnalyst IJune 18, 2008

Back in the year 2000 a man by the name of Mike Williams placed a bet on a small eleven stone winger to become Wales' top try scorer.

If I was the bookie that received this bet, I would of been laughing to myself, thinking that Mike would never see this money again.

In fairness, Mike was the father of the Rugby player he put £50 of his faith in, but to still believe that much in one person, especially with his rather small physique. It seems pretty stupid, but boy did it pay off.

A little less than 10 years later Mike Williams received £250,000 as his son Shane Williams became Wales' top ever try scorer.

Shane has managed to score for his beloved Wales 43 tries in 58 international tests. Not a shabby record for someone who is sometimes said to be "too small for today's game".

Now being dubbed as one of the most exciting and talented runners in the game to date, Shane Williams is earning his praises from all kinds of players. Bryan Habana has recently jumped on to the Shane Williams fan bus, bigging up the little Welsh man's try scoring ability.

Williams has been elevated to such heights in the Welsh side, with many critics going as far as saying he may be the best winger in the world at the moment! I ask the question... Is this really true?

The International stage hosts the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Bryan Habana, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Vincent Clerc and the possibly underrated Paul Sackey. So to say that Shane Williams is better than the rest, could be seen as quite a stupid.

Joe Rokocoko is known for his speed and strength, which has helped with his incredible try strike rate. He is a specialist left-winger but has occasionally played on the right wing for New Zealand, to accommodate another left-wing specialist, Sitiveni Sivivatu. Joe's strike rate is a quite amazing 43 tries in 48 tests.

Bryan Habana is supposedly the fastest man in world rugby even being known to race a cheetah (but he lost). He equalled Jonah Lomu's world cup record of eight tries in a tournament. Bryan's strike rate is a quite impressive 30 tries in 46 tests.

Sitiveni Sivivatu, the "cousin" of fellow All Black Joe Rokocoko (they aren't actually cousins but Sivivatu lived with Joe's family when younger) has been often compared to Rupeni Caucaunibuca (who I suppose should in some senses be in this article). Sitiveni is deceptively strong and has been graced by Stuart Barnes as "the most explosive winger in the world". Sitiveni's strike rate is a completely remarkable 23 tries in 23 tests.

Vincent Clerc recently has a great six nations scoring five tries in the first 2 games. Often underrated and named as small, Clerc is a deadly finisher and has proved an important player for Toulouse's many titles. Clerc's strike rate is a impressive 20 tries in 30 tests.

Paul Sackey is sometimes seen as England's saviour in the World Cup, scoring many of their tries, with his deceptive pace. It often looks like he doesn't break sweat and is seen as one of the deadliest wingers in Europe. Pauls strike rate is not quite as good as the others but still a good 8 tries in 15 tests.

When looking at such figures, you would have to say primarily as a wingers job is to score tries. That Shane Williams is not one of the most clinical wingers in the world. Looking at these figures Sitiveni Sivivatu would take this crown.

Personally I think no one can compare to Joe Rokocoko and he will go on to beat all All-Black records.

Who would you say is the best winger in the world today?