Johnny or Shane – Which Retired International Would Make the Best Touch Player?

Johnny Wilkinson - 91 England Caps (1,179 pts 6 tries)

Shane Williams - 87 Wales Caps, 58 tries

Now that an end has come to two glittering international careers, I’m sure Johnny and Shane will both be looking for new challenges in the forthcoming years.  Representing your country at the highest level is the pinnacle for any sportsman.  Once a player retires, for most, the only way is down.    How can that regular high be recreated elsewhere?

Richard Parks and his 737 Challenge proved that hanging up the rugby boots after a career-ending injury does not mean an end to testing your mind and body against the odds.   Unfortunately, not all ex-pros react in a positive way to the end of their career.  Many suffer from depression, alcoholism or addictions to drugs or gambling.

I imagine that both players are ultra-competitive and would be keen to keep sport on their agenda.  I would suggest that both Johnny and Shane would find Touch to be the perfect pastime.  A huge amount of Touch players have come to the sport following cessation of playing full contact rugby and with the possibility of competing on the international stage, perhaps they could be attracted into the game.  There are differences tactically, but tactics can be learnt – natural ability cannot.  Both players have this in abundance.

I have often wondered how players such as Shane would fare on the Touch pitch.  My guess is, extremely well!  He has the speed, ability and downright genius to twist anyone into a knot whilst trying to close him down, so I am sure Touch would greatly suit his style.

Johnny has such good distribution, organisation and leadership qualities, he would be an outstanding Touch player, likely to direct play from the middle position.  Although, his trusty left boot would be of no use to him in Touch!

How about a ‘Top Trumps’ type comparison?  I have tried to include characteristics that are relevant to both Rugby and Touch

Johnny Wilkinson, Fly-Half and Captain

  • Defence – 10
  • Distribution – 10
  • Finishing – 7
  • Leadership – 10
  • Speed – 7
  • X-factor – 7
  • Total = 51/60

Shane Williams, Wing

  • Defence – 7
  • Distribution – 8
  • Finishing – 10
  • Leadership – 8
  • Speed – 10
  • X-factor – 10
  • Total = 53/60
So, Shane just pips it for me then!

What do you think?  Answer the poll and leave comments below


Gadael Ymateb

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