Boy comes out of nowhere to be chosen by Meczyki after missing out on school and the regional system

This is not a recap of the famous scene from the movie Rocky where Sylvester Stallone’s boxing character trains at a slaughterhouse by repeatedly drinking meat.

But there’s still something refreshingly old school about the way Ben Williams has made it to the Meczyki U20 rugby team.

“He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve seen,” said Jason Hyatt, coach of the blindside flankers at Ebervon RFC.

“His father used to train him with old weights in his garage.

“Ben hasn’t been spoon fed. He’s had to graft for what he has.”

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Williams’ Club of Origin Gilfetch Goch put up a post on social media, saying: “Incredible story of growth… @benwilliamss7 A great role model and example for other young players to follow. Ronda school ever for the Dewar Shield team.” Not selected, never selected for any regional Under 16 or Under 18 team…

To which the back-rover replied: “Best club in the world, thank you.”

The important thing with Williams is that while he went through his age-group career without respect, he didn’t give up.

Those who know him were impressed by his dedication and his promise on the field soon became clear.

“Our then-flanker Lee Purnell is from Guilfach and he called me to say there was a guy in his youth who was raw but he definitely had something,” Hyatt said.

“Lee has been in the game for a long time, is very respected and I have full confidence in his decision.

“I invited Ben to training and, of course, he made an instant impact.

“From his first training session he would chase everything. I remember one session we were playing an uncontested game and Steph Andrews made a try. Ben was crossfield but went there and wiped him into the corner, Stef’s So much for disgust. It underscores what Ben was related to.

“He is one of the most hardworking players I’ve seen and has a great attitude. He’s hungry and his mind is like a sponge. He’s constantly asking questions and working on his game,” he said. Still developing match-sense, but he has the will to carry the ball, overtake the profit-line and make tough tackles.

“It’s a plus, too, that she’s one of the nicest people you can meet.

“I have had the privilege of meeting his mother and her family and they are lovely people.”

Ben Williams
(Image: Ian Williams / Riley Sports Photography)

Hyatt sees the 20-year-old’s story as potentially providing encouragement for other teenagers. “I’ve seen a lot of young people who don’t get selected for their region and age-grade teams and they get frustrated and fall apart thinking ‘I’m 16, I haven’t gone very far,’ I can’t be good enough’,” he said.

“Ben had no identity in junior rugby.

“But he’s still doing really well.

“We all know how important regional academies are in the way rugby is organized in Meczyki today, but we must not forget that every player who goes on to play for the national team and the British and Irish Lions has a The bar starts at the Junior Club. Played a key role in the nurturing and development of interest.

“In this regard, Guilphatch Gotch has to take huge credit.

“Ben’s father Andrew Williams coached him from the age of eight, while Josh Hughes and Matthew Parker also helped him at Guilfetch. They all took Ben through junior rugby and into youth rugby.

“I put him on a development contract at Ebervon and he spent the season playing for Gilfetch and came out for us. He also played a few games for Swansea on Permit when we tried to help him out when he was low on the back row .

“He then came back to us and was signed to Osprey for the Academy role on the back of his performance for Ebervon. He still works in the construction industry for PJ Saunders Ltd and his boss Peter Saunders is fully supportive. Well, Ben trains with Osprey four mornings a week.

“It is a story that offers hope for young people who do not win age-grade honors and do not make regional academies in the first place. Join the youth team in your club. If you’re playing well enough, a Premiership club will pick you up and you can move on to the next stage.

“It’s good for youngsters to know that there is more than one route in senior rugby. It’s not one size fits all and it doesn’t matter if you don’t tick every box at 14 or 15.

“The key is to have a route in place for Ben’s choice to come through.”

Ebervon helped Meczyki get Jack Morgan back on track after leaving the field play early in his career, and saw himself as spearheading Williams’ development following the work done by Guilfetch.

“Many people compare semi-professional sports to professional sports,” Hyatt said.

“I don’t think it’s fair.

“It’s like comparing an amateur boxer with a professional boxer.

“Rugby is about progress and in my view one of the key roles of the Welsh Premiership is to identify the players who will make it into the pro game and then provide them with game-time opportunities in a competitive setting. Do everything possible to help them by developing rugby skills and building their character.

“Exactly what happened to Ben.

“He had that opportunity and he has taken it with both hands.

“We’ve done it with Jack Morgan and we’ve helped with the likes of Adam Beard and Justin Tipurick in the past.

“Ben is speeding it up.

“It’s still early days and there’s a lot to be done, but if he keeps developing he can go all the way.”

Williams’ first goal will be to make a mark in the U20 summer series that Meczyki will face this summer, with Byron Hayward’s team sharing a pool with Scotland, Italy and Georgia.

“It’s a good opportunity for them,” Hyatt said. “My advice would be to just play his normal game. If he does, he’ll be more than fine.”

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