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Our Shane

December 3, 2011

_57107872_shane_try_get464.jpg My son Huw had it right on Facebook when he said: I have never been to a rugby match were the final result mattered so little. Although originally arranged as a means of recouping the costs of a World Cup events conspired to make this a farewell for one of the all time greats of Welsh Rugby. Someone who's skills, genius and modesty but him up there with the all time greats such as Gareth Edwards, Barry John (delete modesty for that one), Gerald Davies and the like.

In all the years I have watched him play the minute he got the ball you could feel the anticipation in the crowd. The try he scored in the corner against the English (although I will say thank god for a French video referee with a sense of moral justice) to put us on on course for the 2005 Grand Slam was memorable. The closing try in the comeback against Scotland in 2010 will never be forgotten, especially for me as our debenture seats are right above that goal post.   

My main memory will be the match against New Zealand in the 2003 World Cup. I was there in the Telstra Stadium where Steve Henson put what he thought was a second string team as cannon fodder. That match told him something that the whole Welsh nation already knew, namely that Shane was something special. Then of course there was the time where he sidestepped and outpaced Habana in his prime. There are so many examples of genius.

We are a sentimental people, and when the last move in the match allowed Shane to score his last try tears flowed freely around the ground. Everyone stayed and his team mates rightly withdrew to allow Shane and his two young children to walk around the ground to a standing ovation that had already lasted longer than when we won the last Grand Slam.

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