Owain Williams: Former Wales back-row forward Williams dies aged 56

Owain Williams scores for Cardiff against Llanelli in May, 2000
Owain Williams scores for Cardiff against Llanelli in May, 2000

Former Wales, Cardiff, Bridgend and Glamorgan Wanderers back-row forward Owain Williams has died at the age of 56.

His death follows that of elder brother Gareth, the Bridgend, Wales and British and Irish Lions forward who passed away in 2018 aged 63.

Owain Williams underwent eye cancer surgery in 2006.

His son Teddy, 20, is a promising Cardiff second-row forward who has won Wales age-grade honours.

A father of four, another of Williams’ sons Henri is also a rugby player.

Cardiff Rugby life president Peter Thomas gave his tribute to the back-rower.

“The thoughts of everyone at Cardiff Arms Park are with the family and friends of Owain at this incredibly sad time.,” said Thomas.

“His career spanned from the amateur to the professional era and he was always one of the very first names on the team sheet back in 1996, due to his diligence, professionalism and athleticism.

“To this day, Owain is undoubtedly one of the best back row forwards Cardiff has ever had. He was a wonderful player and person.

“He will be sadly missed by all of us, particularly at such a young age. He was a very special player and was respected by everyone he played with or against.”

Owain Williams in action for Bridgend against Maesteg in 1991
Owain Williams, seen here in action for Bridgend against Maesteg in 1991, played more than 500 games in an 18-year top-flight career.

Williams made 221 first team appearances over a decade with the Arms Park club. During that time he won two Welsh Cups, the league title and was part of the team that reached the inaugural Heineken Cup final.

Ex-Wales captain Jonathan Davies described the news as “absolutely tragic”. Williams’ former Cardiff team-mate added: “What a player he was, only really appreciated by the guys who played with him. Great reader of the game and brilliant in a squad environment with his quick dry wit. My prayers and condolences are with Angie and the boys. RIP Owain.”

During a lengthy career Williams also spent a season playing for leading Australian team Queensland and his athleticism saw him excel at sevens, in which he captained Wales.

He was capped once, scoring a try in that game as Wales beat Namibia 34-30 in Windhoek.

Away from rugby, Williams became a television set constructor, including working on shows such as Casualty.

Owain Williams in action for Glamorgan Wanderers at Llandovery in 1986
Owain Williams also played for Glamorgan Wanderers as his rugby career began

BBC News