Williams 'may end career' at nine
MAGNERS LEAGUE - Cardiff Blues v Ospreys Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Saturday, 24 October Kick-off: 1830 BST Coverage: Live on S4C & Radio Cymru, updates on BBC Sport website, highlights on Sunday's Scrum V

Shane Williams is likely to be Ospreys' emergency scrum-half in their Welsh derby at Cardiff Blues and admits he could end his career at number nine.

Wales' record try-scorer will solve the Ospreys' scrum-half crisis by stepping in for injured trio Mike Phillips, Tom Issacs and Jamie Nutbrown on Saturday.

Williams said: "I'd have to restructure my game to become a full time scrum-half but it keeps my options open.

"Hopefully I've got a few years left on the wing and I'm still enjoying it."

The 32-year-old is set to play out of his usual position at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday as Williams returns to the berth where he started his rugby career.

The reigning IRB International Player of the Year started his career as a scrum-half at Amman United and signed for Neath as a back-up number nine - before the then Neath coach Lyn Jones realised Williams' potential on the wing.

And Williams admits he could end his distinguished career back in the position where it all begun.

"I spoke to the Ospreys coach Scott Johnson about it," conceded Williams to BBC Sport.

"And he said if you do lose your pace a bit and want to continue then nine could be an option.

Shane has everything tailored to be a very good scrum-half and he sees that as a possibility to end up playing there full-time
Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys
"I'll probably have to be twice as fit as I am now because it is a tough position and a lot of running involved."

Williams has been on two Lions tours and won two Grand Slams in his ten years as an international wing - winning player of the tournament during the 2008 cleansweep - and has a prolific record of 46 tries in 65 Wales caps.

But as Lions scrum-half Phillips (ankle ligament), New Zealander Nutbrown (knee) and Wales Sevens World Cup winner Issacs (shoulder) are out with long-term injuries, Williams is ready to deputise behind the scrum.

"I've trained this week on the wing and as a nine just in case I'm needed there," Williams told BBC Sport.

"I can't remember that last time I played at nine but I could possibly have to start the next game at scrum-half as we're very unlucky in that position at the moment.

"The Ospreys were criticised in the summer for having six scrum-halves and now we're down to our bare minimum but if I need to play nine for the Ospreys, then I'll give it a shot.

"It is a position I've come away from over the years as I play on the wing and I get less and less comfortable playing there but as soon as I get started, it will all come flooding back.

"I'll be a little bit more nervous if I am starting at nine but I do enjoy playing there.

"The worse thing is thinking about playing there but when I'm there, I enjoy it. It is nice to boss around some of the bigger guys and tell them what to do and get them running around the field for you.

"It is a tough position and it is a shame to lose someone as key as Mike Phillips to both the Ospreys and Wales.

It is a shame to lose someone as key as Mike Phillips to both the Ospreys and Wales
Wales and Ospreys star Shane Williams
"But I'll play wherever I'm needed yet it will be interesting as the weekend's games are the last before Wales' autumn international squad is announced and a lot of players playing for position.

"Hopefully they don't want me to play at nine for Wales!"

Wales coach Warren Gatland, unlike Ospreys chief Johnson, has an embarrassment of scrum-half riches as he can chose from Sale Sharks experienced star Dwayne Peel, Blues' 42-times capped Gareth Cooper and Martin Roberts of the Llanelli Scarlets.

But Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who will play alongside Phillips' deputy against the All Blacks in the opening autumn Test in Cardiff on 7 November, says losing Lions scrum-half Phillips is a massive blow.

"He is a fantastic player and proved that in the summer on the Lions tour to South Africa," Scarlets veteran Jones told BBC Wales Scrum V Radio show.

"It's tough losing Mike because of what he brings to game; he is very powerful, has a great kicking game and is an attacking threat.

"But it gives someone else an opportunity and fortunately Wales are well blessed with number nines.

"Cooper and Roberts are very good players players while we all know how good a player Dwayne Peel despite not seeing at first hand recently because he is up in Sale."

The Ospreys, though, boast no such scrum-half strength-in-depth and forwards coach Jonathan Humphries admits the Ospreys may have to delve into the transfer market if Phillips, as feared, is out for four months.

He would then miss all of the Ospreys' remaining Heineken Cup games and be a serious doubt for Wales' Six Nations Championship bid.

The Ospreys fear they could lose Phillips for 16 weeks and Humphreys says the Welsh region will now the exact diagnosis and length of time out on Friday when Phillips' swelling has gone down.

"Recruiting a scrum-half is a possibly," said Humphreys.

"But we won't make that decision until we get the full diagnosis on Mike's injury - if the diagnosis is bad then we'll probably go into the market for somebody."

Phillips, Nutbrown and Issacs are the three scrum-halves registered to play for the Ospreys in the Heineken Cup but Humphreys insists they could add another as cover when all of their scrum-halves are out injured.

"We also do have Rhodri Wells and Liam Davies as well as Shane," said Humphries. "But those boys are also carrying injuries."

Humphreys insists the Ospreys have no concern unleashing Williams as a makeshift scrum-half against the Heineken Cup semi-finalists and EDF Energy champions.

"He is a fantastic rugby player and people have said in the last that scrum-half would be his position one day," said Humphries.

"Shane has everything tailored to be a very good scrum-half and he sees that as a possibility to end up playing there full-time.

"And it is a distinct possibility that Shane will start at nine for us against the Blues on Saturday."

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2009/10/22 06:11:18 GMT