Williams optimistic about Wales future

Wales‘ all-time leading try scorer Rhys Williams sees brighter times ahead for his country after a couple of difficult years.

Williams, back in the UK with London Broncos having spent last season in Australia, only turned 25 in December yet was one of the senior players in an inexperienced Welsh squad for the 2014 European Championship.

Injuries and withdrawals forced head coach John Kear into calling up a host of inexperienced replacements and he fielded 12 debutants in the three-game tournament.

Wales lost to Scotland, France and Ireland, conceding at least 40 points in each game and finished bottom of the standings, missing out on automatic qualification for the 2017 World Cup.

It followed on from a hugely disappointing performance at the 2013 World Cup and saw Wales drop three places to ninth in the international rankings.

However, the absence of senior figures gave a promising crop of youngsters the chance to gain valuable experience and ex-Warrington Wolves winger Williams thinks that was a positive. 

Williams said: “John Kear has come in and I’ve got a lot of time for him and he wants to build a team for the future.

“Last year was a bit of a transitional year for us and to go into a tournament with a squad that only really had Peter Lupton, Christiaan Roets and me from the previous one was always going to be tough.

“It gave an opportunity to some younger players and the likes of Tom Hughes and Ollie Olds really performed.”

Hughes caught the eye at full-back and Olds, who plays for Queensland-based Ipswich Jets in the Instrust Super Cup, impressed in the halves, which has been a problem area for Wales

“Ollie has had a few injury problems and has been playing in Australia so he was probably a little bit under the radar but he came in and showed what a good player he is,” said Williams, who has scored 15 tries in his 17 caps.

Wales‘ next target is qualification for the World Cup in two years time and Williams believes the return of established Super League stars and the continued development of young talents means there are reasons to be optimistic.

“We’ve got some senior players to come back into the squad like Ben Flower, Gil Dudson and Lloyd White, and it will certainly strengthen us and I think we’re all looking forward to that,” said Williams.

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