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Shane Williams and Ieuan Evans take S4C viewers on Rugby World Cup tour


Shane Williams and Ieuan Evans take S4C viewers on Rugby World Cup tour

Two of Wales’ rugby giants will take viewers on a tour of France ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup competition.

Shane and Ieuan have played for Wales in three Rugby World Cups and between them have scored 17 tries during those matches. The S4C series Cwpan Rygbi’r Byd – Shane ac Ieuan was filmed in October 2022 to reflect the period of year Wales fans visit France.

The two will take us on a tour of some of the cities that are home to the nine stadiums that will host the competition’s matches. From the historic cities of the north to the stunning beaches of the south, Shane and Ieuan will enjoy the culture of the country, meet friends old and new, and reminisce.

“It’s all about those important moments… it’s the big moment that changes things,” said Ieuan, summing up the importance of Rugby World Cup matches. The big moment for him was seeing Welsh fans in the crowd at the 1987 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

“There weren’t a lot of Welsh fans there because it was in Rotorua, which is quite a journey. But they were all there to help us and that stands out as a big moment for me,” said Ieuan. “2003 is the one that sticks out for me,” Shane said.

He had the opportunity to go to the World Cup in Australia as a third scrum half. Wales had played three games, but Shane didn’t get the chance to play until the final game against New Zealand.

Despite Wales losing 53-37 against the All Blacks, Shane scored an unforgettable try and showed his talents to the world. “It was the most important game of my life. It turned things around. I still think, if I hadn’t played well, I would never have played for Wales again,” Shane said.

After sharing memories of some of the highlights of their careers, their thoughts turn to wine, bread and cheese and the unique welcome that will await fans in France. We get a taste of France as the two ride the giant mechanical elephant, which is part of the Machines de l’île in Nantes, enjoy the city’s street art, and play chess in one of Lille’s historic squares.

The two also meet former France hooker Benjamin Kayser, who retired in 2019 and is now a commentator. “I’m really excited,” said Benjamin who says France are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the World Cup.

“Lille is unique, and the people are warm and welcoming. It’s a big party town, they love their drink here – it’s like Wind Street in Swansea! You know you’re going to have the best time of your life,” Benjamin said. Is this the year France lift the cup? “All I can do is give my full support to the team. We will know more after the first game,” he said.

By gliding their way through France on a TGV express train or travelling the streets in a tuk-tuk, Shane and Ieuan will take us around the cities that will welcome rugby fans from all over the world. The perfect guide to the tournament for the fans who will travel to France, and those who will be watching the rugby at home on the sofa.

Cwpan Rygbi’r Byd Shane ac Ieuan airs tomorrow (Thursday, 8 June), 9pm on S4C

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