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THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES


By DG
February 26 2020

  Liam Williams joined Saracens at the beginning of the 2017-18 season with the unenviable task of filling Chris Ashton’s not inconsiderable boots. Our Liam (as our little group liked to call him) does not sport the typical rugby-player’s physique – maybe that was why it took so long for him to be discovered. He was working as a scaffolder until he was picked up by Llanelli scout Kevin George and invited to join the club, moving to Scarlets in 2011. Tall and scrawny with knees so far apart you could fly a small plane through them, many people wouldn’t have given him a second look but on the rugby field he came alive. He had the skill-set, the bloody-mindedness and the determination not to be beaten that made him a winner

Our Liam had just completed a very successful tour to New Zealand with the Lions starting at full-back in the victorious 2nd test and the tied 3rd test. But no one expected him to continue at 15 at Allianz – after all Saracens already had the best full back in the country there, Alex Goode. It was on the wing he was destined to make his mark alongside Scot Sean Maitland and veteran David Strettle.

Our Liam made his first team debut from the bench in defeat at Bath before starting the following week out in Philadelphia in the win over Falcons. He scored the first of his 21 tries for the club the following week against Sale. Our Liam showed early class scoring a brace in the European rout of Northampton at The Gardens. He scored 10 tries in his first season with the Club but missed the final win over Exeter with injury, something which was to become an all too familiar pattern. In fact in the 2 seasons he represented Sarries, he played in only 31 games (and of course he has missed the entire 2019-20 season so far following ankle surgery).

Our Liam’s second (and sadly final) season was even better. He started the season with a groin injury, came on as a 2nd half sub against Bristol and scored at 25 minute hat-trick. Pure class. This was followed a few weeks later by another hat-trick against Bath, this time in 41 minutes. By now he was a firm favourite with Sarries supporters who found his bandy legs strangely comforting. He was rock solid under the high ball and virtually unstoppable on the wing. Like all good wingers he knew exactly where the touchline was and frequently used it to his advantage. Sadly his appearances were once again limited by International duty and injury but he was fit for the Premiership semi-final, scoring a try against Gloucester, and it was his sheer guts and refusal to lie down against Exeter in the Premiership final which almost got away, that lifted sarries back into contention. Who can forget Faz’s pinpoint kick out to Williams who landed and scored that try in the same movement. Not only was it a vital score but between them Faz & Liam snatched victory from Exeter’s fingers when almost everyone else believed all was lost. It was his last appearance for the Men in Black although no one knew that at the time.

Strangely though, the action that really defined our Liam was not a try scored but a try saved. Newcastle’s St James’ Park, European Cup Final against Leinster 2019. Having weathered an Irish storm, Sarries have clawed their way back to parity but Leinster look certain to score. Sexton, Furlong, Ringrose almost on the 5m line….somehow Williams not only saves a certain try but Itoje-like manages to turn the ball over allowing Faz to clear, taking the wind out of Leinster’s sails and paving the way to Saracens’ 3rd European Cup Victory.

He was quite a player and one we will all miss. Guys like that don’t come along too often and while he never dislodged Alex Goode from the 15 shirt, he made the right wing his own. Sadly he is our Liam” no more. It’s a shame we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to him on the pitch but I hope he realises how much he was loved in Barnet.

Liam said :“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saracens over the past three seasons. The environment has undoubtedly developed me as a player and a person. I am grateful for the support I’ve had from the players, management and supporters during this time. The opportunity to return home to the Scarlets was too good to turn down, and I am incredibly excited about the future.”

Saracens rugby director, Mark McCall, meanwhile, added: “We’ve really enjoyed having Liam as part of our group for the past three seasons. We appreciate his contribution to the club and we wish him and Sophie [Williams’ partner] well on their return home to Wales.”

From all at Sarries, thanks for the memories Our Liam, all the best for the future and keep scoring those tries – just not against us!

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THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Discussion started by TheSaracens.com , 26/02/2020 21:10
TheSaracens.com
26/02/2020 21:10
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:03:17:20:13:16 by Darraghgirl.

Bram1ey_Road
29/02/2020 07:49
Tough as teak, scaffolder, stammering. What’s not to like?
Thanks Liam.

derbyshire fan
29/02/2020 22:26
Such a lovely player - good luck Liam in everything

myleftboot
06/03/2020 19:13
Great bloke, real shame but those are the cards dealt.

TonyTaff
07/03/2020 11:48
An asset in the big games. It mattered little that he was injured in the Autumn; he has been splendid when the knockout stages came around.

We will miss him in Dublin.

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(*) As at October 31, 2018.

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