By Rich Jones
Three Welsh legends have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016.
Shane Williams, John Dawes and Arthur Gould all joined illustrious company as part of the 12-strong group of new inductees announced last week.
The trio bring the number of Welsh representatives in the Hall of Fame to 20 and are joined by the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, Johnny Wilkinson and Laurence Dallaglio.
Gould, who played for Wales in the late-1800s, earned 27 caps and is widely regarded as the first superstar of Welsh rugby.
Dawes, also a centre, made 22 appearances for Wales and oversaw one of their most successful periods as Head Coach from 1974 until 1979.
But it is the inclusion of Williams which has gained most headlines. The wing wizard is one of the most popular Welsh players in recent memory and has now received well-deserved recognition from World Rugby.
Few could argue the 39-year-old deserves his place following a glittering career which came to an end last year.
He amassed a record total of 58 tries and won 87 caps for Wales whilst also featuring on three British and Irish Lions tours.
The Swansea-born ace was at the heart of Wales’ Grand Slam successes in 2005 and 2008, scooping the IRB World Player of the Year award in 2008 following his electrifying performances.
Whilst some will be surprised to see Williams already inducted in the Hall of Fame, there can be little doubting his impact on Welsh rugby.
He was at the forefront of their rise back to prominence after a barren spell, and his flair was crucial to Wales for a number of years.
Nobody who witnessed Williams’ career would doubt he fully deserves his place amongst World Rugby’s elite.
He was officially inducted alongside Dawes and Gould at a special ceremony in Rugby last Thursday.