Nick Williams has been able to remain with the Cardiff Blues for another season after a meeting with the PRB/RMB.
It was feared in recent weeks that the No 8 would be unable to continue his stay with the club as the Welsh Rugby Union blocked his extension, but it seems as though common ground has been found.
Since his arrival in 2016 from Ulster, the 35-year-old has become one of the most influential players on the team and Cardiff Blues’ chief executive Richard Holland is delighted that he is staying on.
“We are thrilled to be able to retain the services of Nick, a player who has become such a key figure within our environment. Anyone who has watched Cardiff Blues this season, and most recently Judgement Day, will have seen he is still producing the goods on the pitch but on top of that, he brings an enormous cultural benefit to the entire environment. He will now continue to play a key role in mentoring and developing young Welsh talent,” he said.
As Holland mentions one of the terms of his extension is that he will help with the development of younger players in the squad and Holland hopes that this could see a long-term position open up for Williams.
“We would like to thank PRB for their support throughout the process, which has culminated with a positive outcome for Cardiff Blues and our strategy to develop young talent from within, which is ultimately for the betterment of Welsh rugby as a whole. Nick embodies all of the values we want at Cardiff Blues and this mentoring role has the potential to become something more long-term,” he added.
Williams, who has settled in Barry with his family had previously spoken of his love for the area and his desire to remain in Wales and is excited that he can continue with the club.
“I’m very happy and blessed to be able to go again. I spoke to my family and they were all supportive, so I told John in November-time that I was keen to stick around. The body feels fresh, mentally I feel good and it all seems to be working for us so I’m happy to get another year. After winning the Challenge Cup I thought it was a good way to go out but I didn’t really think about what I could give back to rugby, particularly in regards to bringing young guys through. I have a good relationship with the boys. I’m a bit more kicked back and relaxed compared to some of the other boys. I like to lead with action and hopefully the boys follow,” he said.
Williams is also excited with his role in aiding with the development of younger players and has promised to give his all for the region.
“I really rate the young boys in the squad. We have a good group, who have come through together and are very tight. Hopefully I can help them develop and if they stick together the future is really bright both for Cardiff Blues and the individuals. I also like to think I’ve also been playing some decent rugby. We have a recipe here that works. Cardiff Blues look after me through the week and I pay them back by giving 110 per cent on the weekend. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to keep playing here,” he added.
The No 8, who has scored 12 tries in 66 appearances, is as good in defence as he is in attack and head coach John Mulvihill is happy that he will have his presence on and off the pitch next season.
“It is great to keep Nick at the Arms Park. He brings a physical presence every time he takes the field and still has a huge amount to offer. Off the pitch he is an invaluable mentor to the likes of Jim Botham, Alun Lawrence and Shane Lewis-Hughes. We have further announcements to make in the coming weeks and will continue to strengthen our squad where possible,” he said.
The Welsh outfit have been working well to keep players at the club as well as Williams with other star men Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Rhys Gill and Willis Halaholo all signing new deals. Along with them are the new signings of Welsh duo Hallam Amos and Josh Adams, all of which makes the Blues an exciting prospect already for next season.
Ulster Rugby Lad meets… Ross Kane
Ross Kane speaks to Peter Lockhart
Ross Kane is a card-carrying member of the beefy brethren known in rugby circles as the front row club.
He has become an important player for Ulster, deputising for Marty Moore and becoming an important part of the ‘new generation’ at Ulster.
Here, he chats to Peter Lockhart from Ulster Rugby Lad about his propping destiny, his rugby hero and puppy problems.
Who or what made you passionate about rugby?
My passion for rugby really grew when I joined Methody in 1st year, watching all the older guys and friends of mine make it through and play professionally.
Who was the player you most admired growing up?
It’s hard to look much further than Rory Best for the most admired player growing up as he was achieving what every young player coming through Ulster wanted to achieve. Finally making my debut and getting to play alongside him was a very proud moment for me.Embed from Getty Images
What made you want to play as a prop?
Many people will tell you that you don’t choose to be a prop, being a prop chooses you. Being a bit bigger in school always had me in the front row and I never managed to escape!
What would you be doing if you weren’t playing professional rugby?
If I wasn’t playing rugby, I’d hope to be working in the construction industry as I’m in the middle of finishing my engineering degree.
What advice would you give to any young aspiring front row players?
Advice I would give to young front rowers would be to soak up as much information as possible. Small details will put you ahead of other players.
How do you get into the right mindset before a game? Do you have any pre-match routines or rituals?
I don’t have any pre match rituals, as long I know I have prepared well I know I’ll be in the right mindset for the game.
What are your expectations for Ulster in the next few years?
My expectations for Ulster over the next few years are to be consistently putting ourselves in a position to compete at the top level.Embed from Getty Images
Is there a failure or apparent failure that set you up for a later success?
I think personally not getting selected for the academy after my U20 season really made me realise that I needed to change my mindset and approach to rugby and thankfully 2 years later I was selected for a summer trial for the academy.
What hobbies/obsessions do you explore in your free time?
I’ve recently just got 2 puppies with my girlfriend so most of my free time will be used trying to teach them to not go to the toilet in the house.
Images & Content from Ulster Rugby Lad
Ulster Rugby announce new Club Captain.
Captain for the 2019/20 season.
Ulster Rugby this morning announced who will succeed Rory Best as the Captain of Ulster Rugby for the 2019/20 season.
The 27-year-old, who is currently in Ireland’s training squad ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019, has represented his home Province on 105 occasions.
Henderson started his rugby journey at Academy RFC, before continuing his development at Belfast Royal Academy.Embed from Getty Images
The versatile forward represented Ulster and Ireland at various age-grade levels on route to making his senior provincial debut in April 2012, against Connacht.
Henderson has since become a key figure for Ulster and Ireland, winning 44 caps for the latter. He played in four of Ireland’s games during the 6 Nations Grand Slam success of 2018, while he also featured in 2014 and 2015 Championship wins.
New ‘British League’ to Begin Within Two Years
A club chairman has claimed that a ‘British League’ will be made within the next two years merging two major leagues together according to reports
An anonymous leading club chairman has told The Rugby Paper that a British League could be created in the next two years.
It is believed that the CVC group, whom are looking to secure a 27 percent share in the PRO14 following a similar deal with the English Premiership earlier this year, are looking to make a major change to the leagues.
The former owners of Formula One and Moto GP are apparently looking to merge the two competitions if they claim a stake in the PRO14.
With a deal sealed to buy into the Premiership during last season, the 13 clubs that own Premier Rugby Ltd will be receiving around £13.5m a piece following the completion of a deal worth around £275m.
It is thought that a similar deal would be on the cards for the PRO14 side’s if they claim their stake in the competition.
The merging of the competitions is of the best interest of the CVC group according to the source and they believe that the Welsh clubs would be very encouraged by the idea.
“A British League will happen in two years’ time. It will happen because it is the best outcome for the game in the four home countries and for CVC. It will appeal to the Welsh regions in particular and the Premiership clubs. Not one is profitable with the exception of Exeter and a British League will go along way towards providing stability,” they said.
The source went on to further discuss how the move could be a real boost for the Welsh regions especially.
“In Wales, it will be seen as the only opportunity to be sustainable Their regions lost between £5m-£6m last year. They have been kept going by the generosity of a few backers and the danger is they will get even fewer unless something radical is done. Fixtures like Cardiff Blues against Bristol, Dragons versus Gloucester, Ospreys against Bath and Scarlets against Saracens will stop the downward spiral of attendances in Wales,” they continued.
Although the Welsh regions appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of the potential merger, it seems as though the Irish provinces are not guaranteed to be involved and the league could go ahead without them.
“Commercially, they could be as much as 50 per cent better off. It will be important to have all four Irish provinces on board but, if necessary, we will go ahead and do it without them,” they finished.
The league is an interesting possibility, but it could cause potential problems by undermining the Champions and Challenge Cups, as well as they question of what happens to the Irish teams if they don’t sign up? All is up in the air at the moment and we will have to wait and see if this project becomes a reality.
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