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Bulawayo-born rugby star in England squad

by Sports Reporter
07 Aug 2016 at 10:46hrs | Views
BULAWAYO-born rugby star Michael Williams continues to make great strides in his career after he was included in a 45-men provisional elite England training squad for a pre-season camp which started yesterday and ends tomorrow. Williams, an ex-Christian Brothers College pupil whose parents still live in Zimbabwe is eligible to play for England through his grandfather.

The 24-year-old lock turns out for top English premiership side Leicester Tigers, a club he joined last year from Worcester Warriors. Despite spending time on the sidelines after breaking his arm at the end of last year and early this year, Williams still made it into England coach Eddie Jones' team to play against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia later this year.

"This camp sets the scene for November, it's important to catch up with the players prior to the start of the season and continue to put our plans in place. We've chosen a number of new faces to attend this camp on the form they have shown recently or the potential we see in them,'' said Jones.

Last Thursday Williams disclosed that it was amazing to get a call up to the England provisional squad. He is aware that he has to work hard to make it into the squad for the end of year Tests as everyone named is capable of making the final cut.

"It's an amazing feeling, I would like to think that anyone in the squad is capable of playing come November. It's a new squad and a fresh season, so hopefully I will make it,'' said Williams. It has been an epic journey for Williams who can play at lock and flank.

Williams spent three years at the Sharks Academy in Durban where he captained the KwaZulu-Natal side in the Under-19 ABSA Currie Cup. At the end of 2010, Williams was called up to the South African Under-20 squad that was preparing for the 2011 World Rugby Junior Championships in Italy.

However, he did not make it into the final squad that eventually made the trip. It later emerged that with South Africa getting tough on who represents their national teams, the fact that Williams was holding a Zimbabwean passport counted against him.

He moved from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng where he turned out for the University of Pretoria in the Varsity Cup and was part of the Blue Bulls set up.

Williams won back to back Varsity Cup titles with the Tuks in 2012 and 2013. He had excellent chances of breaking into the Bulls Super Rugby team but with the opportunity of playing for the South African Springboks limited, he switched his allegiance from Loftus Versfeld to Sixways Stadium where he signed a two-year contract with Worcester.

Ironically, it was the South Africans who mourned when Williams moved to England instead of Zimbabwe, a country which has lost many talented youngsters to their neighbours.

Williams joined Leicester Tigers last year where he has excelled at lock and flank, a feat that has seen him being included in the England squad.

Source - sundaynews