Wales' Shane Williams to miss Baa-Baas clash

Shane Williams
Shane Williams suffered a knee injury against Ireland in the 2010 Six Nations

Wales wing Shane Williams is out of the Wales squad to face the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The Ospreys veteran, 34, has failed to recover from a knee injury suffered during Wales' 19-13 win over Ireland in March.

Williams had hoped to be fit to return for the Ospreys' 18-11 Magners League play-off semi-final defeat by Munster on 14 May.

But three weeks later Wales backs coach Robert Howley says Williams is not fit.

Howley said: "He's up to about 85% running and obviously thinking of long-term in terms of Rugby World Cup, there's not many games left in the tank for Shane and we just decided that it's in the best interests of Welsh rugby to give him a rest."

Williams' absence leaves coach Warren Gatland with only two specialist wings to choose from - Scarlets' George North and Newport Gwent Dragon Aled Brew with Morgan Stoddart the recognised full-back option.

Howley added: "We've got someone who's been waiting in the wings - Aled Brew has had his opportunity back in the autumn and would have been disappointed when Tom James was selected above him against the All Blacks.

"But [he's] a player who's playing particularly well for the Dragons, who finished the season off very strong.

"He's very physical and up against probably what we're expecting from a Barbarians, probably a more physical sort of game.

"And I think looking at that back three in terms of Aled Brew and obviously Morgan Stoddart might be fitting into that 15 role, it's looking into the combinations and probably our strength in depth before the World Cup."

Williams was named in the squad to face the Barbarians on and his absence is a blow to Gatland, who wants an impressive start to the summer Tests that precede the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Wales also face England, twice, and Argentina during August before heading to New Zealand where they face South Africa, Fiji, Samoa and Namibia at the pool stage.

Wales squad v Barbarians (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; 4 June 1430 BST):

Forwards: P James (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), R Bevington (Ospreys), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), R Hibbard (Ospreys), L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), A-W Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), L Reed (Scarlets), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt).

Backs: M Stoddart (Scarlets), G North (Scarlets), A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), G Henson (Toulon), S Jones (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets).

Barbarians squad:

Forwards: S Bruno (Toulon), Q Geldenhuys (Aironi), L Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso), C Hayman (Toulon), D Kubriashvili (Toulon), E Lund (Biarritz), S Parisse (Stade Francais), S Perugini (Aironi), G Smith (Toulon), I Tekori (Castres Olympique), I Thomas (Scarlets), P Tito (Cardiff Blues), J van Niekerk (Toulon), M Williams (Cardiff Blues).

Backs: B Baby (Clermont Auvergne), M Bastareaud (Stade Francais), D Howlett (Munster), B James (Clermont Auvergne), N Jeanjean (Brive), W Mason (Toulon), F Michalak (Toulouse), R Pienaar (Ulster), S Rabini (La Rochelle), P Sackey (Toulon), S Tillous-Borde (Castres Olympique), T Visser (Edinburgh).