Williams pays tribute to Waugh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Williams pays tribute to Waugh

Jim Morton 24/06/2011 10:00:09 PM Comments (0)

Long-time Kiwi foe Ali Williams led the rich tributes for Phil Waugh and predicted Wallabies coach Robbie Deans would give them one last Test conflict.

Waugh yet again epitomised the Waratahs, gallant in defeat in their gutsy 26-13 play-off loss to Williams' Blues at Eden Park on Friday night.

The 31-year-old flanker's 132nd and last Super Rugby match will be remembered for his running battle with the Blues and All Blacks secondrower.

While it was Williams who proved to be the match-winner with a 63rd-minute try, the Blues beanpole produced the best praise for the retiring NSW skipper.

"You only have to watch his games and watch the state he walks off a rugby field, he gives it everything and the best part about it is you can sit and have a beer with him afterwards and talk," Williams said.

"I can't speak highly enough about the guy. I just love playing him, I love how competitive he is, I love how he goes about it.

"He's a good man.

"He'll be sorely missed but he's not done with yet he'll probably be in the Aussie team."

Deans has not picked Waugh, capped 79 times, since 2009 and the flanker will at best be a second-choice No.7 behind David Pocock.

Waugh found it hard to reflect on his 13-season career but playmaker Kurtley Beale said the emotions were flowing in the dressing room.

"It's sad to see him leave," said Beale, who also played his last match for the Waratahs at Eden Park.

"He's just a fantastic leader, he's got all the respect from all the guys and staff in the sky blue.

"He's set a legacy there and it's an opportunity for the young boys to come through and continue that."

"Words like courage, trust, honesty, he's all about that stuff.

"I'm just very honoured to start my career with him and finish with him."

Beale was once again NSW's most dangerous player but his forced shift from fullback to five-eighth didn't reap results as he fell short tactically and failed to match it with the kicking games of Blues pair Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister.

"Tonight I was probably disappointed with my game - I should have controlled it a bit more," he said.

"I tried to play out of our half a little too much and gave them opportunities when we turned it over."

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