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Williams taking praise in his stride

Guinness PRO12 Editor

6 Jan 2012

Welsh U20 winger Liam Williams evades Tim Visser

There are certain initials in Wales which carry with them the same weight as ‘JFK’ or ‘FDR’ in America, but Scarlets boss Nigel Davies had no qualms about labelling Liam Williams the new ‘JPR’.


Considered the British & Irish Lions greatest ever full-back, JPR Williams was renowned as much for his bravery and courage as he was for his considerable skill.

And it has been for his lion-hearted displays for the Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 that Davies has drawn comparisons between Liam and his namesake for his 1970s.

It is a considerable compliment and a considerable feat for the 20-year-old to gain such recognition having only made his regional debut in September.

Before that he had been a scaffolder at a steelworks and much like in his rugby he is taking all the praise coming his way in his stride.

He said: “To be compared to JPR is unbelievable and that compliment really came out of the blue.

“It is incredible to be spoken about in the same breath as a legend like that. I can’t really explain it, I have just taken my chances when they have come my way.

“I would never have dreamed I would have had the 12 months I have. My aim was to try to do well in pre-season and maybe get one or two starts in the first team over the course of the season. But I took my chances when they came and it is phenomenal to be in the squad.”

With in-form Welsh full-backs thin on the ground in Wales, it might not be long before Warren Gatland runs the rule over the youngster.

But after helping the Scarlets to a derby defeat of the Ospreys, Williams maintains his focus is purely on maintain his stellar form.

He said: “With these games we needed to work our way back up the RaboDirect table and that’s my priority.

“These Welsh derbies are big games to be involved in and if you are selected and in the thick of the action, it is great. There’s nothing better than playing in front of a big crowd and feeling the pressure.

“On the field what happens, happens. Off the field we are all still best mates but we know that is different when we are playing against each other. Eli Walker is a good mate of mine and I shared a room with him in the Junior World Championship for two weeks.

“We have got a very good backline at the Scarlets and we aim to play an exciting brand of rugby. Just being part of a backline with Rhys Prietsland, Scott Williams, Sean Lamont and Jonathan Davies is a dream.

“I owe such of all this to my parents [Jane and Brian]. My Mum and dad watch every game along with my bro and sister [Steven and Katie). Hopefully I will repay them one day by running out at the Millennium Stadium.”