Jan 09, 2017
In Focus: Future Sarrie Liam Williams
Welsh wizard Liam Williams is on his way to Saracens next season. The exciting full-back or wing has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the reigning European and English champions and will move to Allianz Park at the end of the season.
Williams starred in Wales’ RBS Six Nations, summer tour of New Zealand and the recent autumn internationals and here we take a closer look at Saracens’ latest recruit for 2017/18 season.
A Man in Form!
“Liam is arguably one of the most talented backs in Europe so to have secured his signing is real coup for the Club.” Director of rugby Mark McCall is man he rarely dishes out the superlatives. McCall is known for his measured approach but the three-time Premiership winning coach couldn't hide his excitement of Williams' impending arrival - an excitement certainly shared by Sarries fan-base!
Liam signed his first full-time professional contract with Scarlets in 2011. Until that point he was playing part-time rugby for Waunarlwydd RFC and Llanelli RFC whilst he concentrated on completing an industrial apprenticeship that saw him work 12-hour shifts working above the blast furnace in Port Talbot’s Margam Steelworks as an apprentice scaffolder.
“The highest I climbed was about 250 feet and you are just looking down at the floor,” said Williams speaking to Daily Mail in February 2015. “I worked on the top of the blast furnace and that may be even higher. It was fine and it's not something that bothers me.”
Williams is widely known by the name ‘Sanjay’ in rugby circles? Want to know the origin of his nickname, Liam explained in an interview with Rugby World; “I was on holiday with my parents and my brother and sister when I was about five or six and we met this Scottish family. The parents said I looked like ‘Sanjay’ off EastEnders and then everyone started calling me that – my mum and dad, my brother, even my schoolteachers!”
Head to Twitter and when you find Liam on Twitter (@SanjayWills) you’ll see is his bio the following: ‘professional bomb diffuser’ for Scarlets’. Williams is renowned for his aerial ability, on his love of the battle of the skies he said to Wales Online: “I love jumping for the ball. It’s an important part of the game and we have to make sure we do well in the aerial battle.”
When Wales legend Barry John dishes out praise, you listen. The former Welsh magician writing in his Wales on Sunday column after Williams impresses in Wales’ tour of New Zealand said: “What a player. You can’t fault him. You can stick him anywhere, on the wing or at full-back, it does not matter.
“He is a one-off. Once he appears on the pitch for the anthem and has the smell of the jersey to inspire him, he is a mighty performer.”
Future British & Irish Lion?
As one of Europe’s form three-quarters Liam Williams is being widely tipped to be on the plane to New Zealand this summer. After seeing his stock rise in the summer and autumn internationals, Williams could join be rubbing shoulders with some future Sarries teammates on the tour later this year.
Williams will be following in the footsteps of a number of Welsh internationals who have donned the Red in Black of Saracens. In the past loosehead prop Rhys Gill, former Wales skipper Michael Owen, Grand Slam winning centre Tom Shanklin and abrasive lock forwards Craig Quinnell, Adam Jones and Tony Copsey have also called Saracens home.
Prop forward Ben Broster spent five seasons at Vicarage Road before moving to Scarlets where he was capped for Wales twice and a certain Gavin Henson endured a less than auspicious short-spell at the Club before moving on to pastures new. Recently, Andrew Fenby has plied his trade at Allianz Park on a short-term contract as back-three cover.
In the amateur days, Brian Davies was Saracens most recognisable Welshman. The influential scrumhalf, who graced Bramley Road in the early 1990s and played alongside Saracens legends such as John Buckton and Richard Hill and was appointed captain in 1992. Commuting from South Wales for the entirety of his Saracens career, he led the club to the 1994 Second Division Championship. He is fondly remembered by Saracens fans for his outstanding leadership and commitment in the highly competitive seasons leading up to professionalism in 1996. He later played for Newport, before retiring.
Back to Business
Despite the excitement of his move to north London, Williams insists its business as usual for him and the Scarlets as they prepare to face…you guessed it, Saracens, this weekend.
“I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career,” said Williams. “I wouldn’t be the player I am without the incredible support from the Scarlets’ management, players, back-room staff and passionate supporters. I will be giving my all for the remainder of the season and hope to help finish on a high.”
Liam Williams Fact file
Full name: Liam Brian Williams
Born: April 9, 1991, Morriston
International Honours: Wales (38 caps)
Height 6 ft 2 in
Weight 187 lb
Follow him on Social Media