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Wales debutant Williams: “I’ll look better in a red shirt”

Wales debutant Williams: “I’ll look better in a red shirt”

Wales debutant Williams: “I’ll look better in a red shirt”

There will be no prouder man in Wales than Johnny Williams this evening, as the Scarlets centre pulls on the red shirt of his country for the first time against Georgia.

The 24-year-old will make his international bow in Llanelli, aiming to help Wayne Pivac’s side put an end to a run of six straight defeats in all competitions.

Williams, who has represented both Wales and England at junior level having been born in Weston-Super-Mare but with a father from Rhyl, has nailed his colours to the Welsh mast, and is eager to make his mark in the Autumn Nations Cup clash.

The centre will be making his first start alongside fellow full debutant Callum Sheedy, another man who has pulled on an England shirt in the past, but Williams is keen to prove where his loyalty lies, even if his accent stands out in training.

“There is a lot of excitement and a lot of nerves,” Williams said. “I have been patient and it has taken a lot of graft and effort to get here, but I’m very grateful the chance has come.

“It has been a rollercoaster journey for me. The goal has always been to get back on the field and to get to where I am today – I have never taken my eye off the ball.

“There have been some tough times, but now I am ready to represent my country. I do consider myself as Welsh, even though I don’t have the accent!

“I want to play for Wales and I’ve got the opportunity to do that at the weekend and to play hard.

“Last year Callum and I were in an England shirt and that was an opportunity for me to showcase myself and to prove I could play international rugby. But I’m happier playing for Wales and I think I’ll look better in a red shirt!”

It will be an emotional day for a number of reasons for Williams, who overcame a cancer scare last year, leaving him watching the 2019 Rugby World Cup from a hospital bed.

The transition in the past 12 months has been nothing short of incredible for the former Newcastle Falcons man, as he continues to go from strength to strength on the rugby field.

And after a rollercoaster journey on a personal and professional level, Williams’ inspirational story will reach a new peak on familiar turf, with his international breakthrough coming at Parc y Scarlets, where he plays his club rugby.

But when he walks out onto the pitch in Llanelli later today, all focus will be on Georgia, and turning round the recent fortunes for his country.

Williams said: “The cancer scare was a worry and I learned a lot going through that. But I’ve come through it, I’m out the other side and I’m back to playing some really good rugby.

“It’s a massive shame the game won’t be at the Principality. That was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to play for Wales, to experience the atmosphere there.

“But it won’t ruin the occasion for me and playing at Parc y Scarlets, a ground with which I am familiar, will make it easier for me winning my first cap.

“We know what Georgia will bring – they are a physical bunch and big up front. We are all just excited to be playing for Wales and we want to stop the losing streak.”

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