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Williams reflects with pride on first international try

Williams reflects with pride on first international try

Johnny Williams

New Wales star Johnny Williams hailed ‘a try I will remember for a long time’ after opening his international account less than 18 months after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The 24-year-old latched on to his own kick to open the scoring at Parc y Scarlets against an England side he had represented in a non-cap match against Barbarians in June 2019.

Shortly afterwards, his life was turned upside down when he received his cancer diagnosis and he only returned to rugby 10 months ago having undergone a cycle of chemotherapy.

Though disappointed by his side’s defeat on Saturday – England came back to win 24-13 and seal top spot in Group A – Scarlets centre Williams has a sense of perspective after his recent experiences and was understandably proud of his own landmark score.

“I have come a long way in the past 18 months, and I can look back with pride,” he said.

“If you had told me at the time that in 18 months I would be starting against England and getting my first try, I wouldn’t have believed you. I am grateful for that.

“I thought the try was going to be disallowed, but I am happy it was a try. I kept chasing and it was quite a simple try.

“It was my first international try, and one that I will remember for a long time. Imagine if there had been 80,000 at Principality Stadium going mad, but it was still surreal knowing that my family were celebrating at home and going mad.

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“I celebrated pretty intently to no fans, which was kind of embarrassing! I got a few messages (from the family), and I think a few of them were crying and screaming.”

Williams’ first score came in just his second Wales cap after he made his debut against Georgia in Round 2 of the Autumn Nations Cup.

The centre is one of an array of fresh faces being blooded by Wayne Pivac as Wales look to the future and though results have not gone to plan to date – Wales have won just twice in 2020 – Williams believes the side are moving in the right direction.

“We are building for 2023 (the next World Cup), and there is definitely a good mix of youth and experience,” he said.

“The boys have got used to training together and knowing each other. We are just going to get better and better.

“We have made up a lot of ground, and we will keep moving forward. We were ready for that physical battle, and I think we were physical ourselves.

“Of course we are not happy with the scoreline, but we are happy with how we are building. We have got to be better again (against Italy this Saturday) than we have been, and we will be.”

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