Johnny Williams: The one-time England try-scorer playing for Wales


Wales centre Johnny Williams in action in his first international against Georgia
Wales centre Johnny Williams in action in his first international against Georgia
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 28 November Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 5 Live (second half only) and follow live text on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales centre Johnny Williams might have scored a try for England at Twickenham last year, but he now has his sights on the downfall of Eddie Jones’ side.

Williams played for England in an uncapped match against Barbarians in June 2019 – on Saturday the 24-year-old lines up in the Wales midfield at Parc y Scarlets.

“It has always been a dream of mine,” said Williams.

“These big games are the reason you want to make it to the top.”

Williams was born in Weston-super-Mare, but qualifies for Wales via his “die-hard Welshman” father from Rhyl.

The former London Irish and Newcastle centre made his Wales debut against Georgia and has proved one of the Autumn Nations Cup success stories after signing for Scarlets in the summer.

With fellow Scarlet Jonathan Davies injured, Williams has an opportunity to show his quality against the Six Nations champions as he lines up with another former England Under-20s centre, Nick Tompkins, against Owen Farrell and Henry Slade.

He remembers regular trips to Cardiff with his father, watching Wales on many occasions, and often against England. For Johnny Williams it has always been Wales.

“These England versus Wales games have definitely been the reason why I wanted to be on the pitch when I was watching at the Principality Stadium with my dad,” said Williams.

“This is probably the highest level. It’s quite surreal, to be honest, and I am seriously excited.

“England at the minute are definitely up there with their performances and results. I know what England versus Wales means, so I can’t wait to get out on the pitch.

Johnny Williams in action for England
Johnny Williams in action for England against the Barbarians in 2019

“Most England-Wales games at the Principality I’ve been to, until I was playing myself.

“He (Williams’ father) is a massive fan himself – a die-hard Welshman, and Welsh-speaking – so I know what these games mean.

“There is an edge to the players, and it’s a good edge. You can tell that by the atmosphere and what’s in the air.”

The 24-year-old only returned to professional rugby 10 months ago after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and undergoing chemotherapy in 2019.

That diagnosis came soon after his impressive display in England colours.

“It (cancer treatment) was a massive setback,” recalled Williams.

“It is something I can look back on with pride and joy knowing I fought through it to get back on the pitch.”

Chris Robshaw says England playing Wales behind closed doors in Llanelli can make a huge difference to the contest



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