Williams' Lions desire
Martyn Williams is desperate for a Lions tour win in South Africa, whether he is on the pitch or not.
Last Updated: 27/05/09 5:21pm
Martyn Williams says a British and Irish Lions tour win in South Africa would be the highlight of his career, whether he is on the pitch or not.
The Wales and Cardiff Blues flanker has not yet started a Lions Test match yet despite going on two previous tours - to Australia in 2001 and New Zealand four years ago.
His one taste of it came as a replacement during the 38-19 third Test defeat against New Zealand in Auckland, which is scant reward for a player with such talent.
Capped 88 times for Wales, Williams has vast experience and he says he will be looking to make an impact even if he is not selected in the team.
"Ideally, you would be starting in the Test side and winning the series, but if you don't start, there is still a very important role to play," said Williams.
"Geech (Lions head coach Ian McGeechan) made that point earlier this week.
"He said one of the greatest Lions he ever worked with was Jason Leonard in South Africa 12 years ago.
"Jason didn't start, but what he did behind the scenes for the other boys to make sure they won the series was outstanding."
Williams faces a fight for the number seven Lions Test shirt with Ireland Grand Slam winner David Wallace, and the contest is launched in earnest this weekend.
The Royal XV are Saturday's opponents in Rustenburg and Williams has underlined the importance of making a strong start.
"I was talking to Gareth Edwards the other day, and he was part of Lions squads that were away for three and a half months and played more than 20 games," Williams said.
"We've got six games before the first Test. We haven't got a season to build a game plan - we've just got to hit the ground running.
"I've been fortunate this season. I've played a fair bit, but not a ridiculous amount.
"I think I've played 25 games all season, so I feel quite fresh. The weeks off you have during a season are invaluable.
"And when you turn up in a Lions environment, it gives you an extra boost anyway. It's a Lions tour, and if you are feeling tired on something like that, you shouldn't be here.
"There were butterflies in the stomach when you turned up and met all the boys, and the way everyone has gelled has been awesome.
"We've worked hard, but it has been smart work as well, which is the key to it all."