Wales: Wing Liam Williams looks to top ‘unforgettable year’

Wales full-back Liam Williams says he is hoping to top his “unforgettable” year with World Cup glory in Japan.

Williams was part of Wales’ Grand Slam winning side that also enjoyed a record 14-match winning run.

The 28-year-old back also celebrated the domestic double with club side Saracens as they claimed English and European titles.

“It’s been the best year of my life in terms of the rugby aspect,” Williams told BBC Sport Wales.

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“I played all the games in the Six Nations and it’s a year I’ll never, ever forget.

“At Saracens, you can learn off the best players in the world like Owen Farrell and Alex Goode. I love the way it is there.

“Now we have the World Cup with Wales. It’s more expectation than hope and I know the country back home are expecting good things and I am pretty sure we will be able to do that.”

Williams is preparing for a second World Cup when Wales open their World Cup campaign in Toyota City against Georgia on Monday, 23 September.

This is a far cry from his previous career as a scaffolder at the steelworks in Port Talbot with Williams taking the unconventional route to international rugby.

“We went out on a boat last week In Japan and we went past a steelworks and I felt it was like home from home here,” said Williams.

“It’s probably about eight years or so since I was scaffolding and if I went back I wouldn’t have a clue what to do. Everything has changed now.”

Wales’ World Cup preparations have not been ideal though.

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Warren Gatland’s side have suffered three defeats in four warm-up matches which have been followed by revelations this week that backs coach Rob Howley has been sent home because of an alleged betting breach.

Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones has flown into Japan to replace Howley for the World Cup.

“We had a leadership group meeting to see who to bring in. Steve was first choice,” said Williams.

“He’s worked in this environment before and worked with a lot of the guys in the backline through the Scarlets.

“He has arrived and we have given him the playbook and the way we want to play and he is happy with that.

“He will bring some of his own ideas just to keep us on our toes and if he wants to bring something new then that’s great.

“We will have to see how that goes. I am sure he will have his own little tricks up his sleeve.”

Williams says Wales are used to off-the-field adversity after they won the 2019 Grand Slam despite uncertainty over the future of the domestic game during the tournament.

“We are in our own little bubble here and what happens outside of that doesn’t involve us,” said Williams.

“Rob leaving was not the best start but we’re in the Test week now and some of the senior boys have stepped up.”

And Williams has found his own way to switch off from all the rugby matters.

“I have been playing a lot of Call of Duty,” said Williams.

“I had to get someone from the hotel up to my room because the brightness is down on my TV! I can’t a thing and it means I can’t shoot at anyone.

“It’s me, Gareth Davies and Josh Adams. Gareth and I always get one of the other boy’s TV’s and stick it in our room so we can have two.”

Now Wales will be hoping Williams is also on target during this World Cup in Japan.

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