The Wales star fighting cancer during last World Cup now standing on brink of selection

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Johnny Williams is on the verge of making Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad four years after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Many players have overcome adversity to reach the top but Williams has had to fight harder than most to reach the promised land of international rugby. In 2019 Williams, who has also represented England in an uncapped game against the Barbarians, underwent a four-week course of chemotherapy to overcome cancer.




But a lot can change in four years and after joining the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons Williams is now a fully-fledged Wales international. Having missed much of his country’s World Cup preparation courtesy of a hamstring injury, Williams returned to play a part against South Africa yesterday and will find out whether he has made the cut on Monday morning.

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“Four years ago, I was watching the World Cup from a hospital bed, so the ability to maybe be playing at the tournament four years later is hard to sum up into words,” said Williams. “Every working day has been towards playing for Wales and going to the World Cup, ever since I can remember from the age of six years old when my dad was bringing me here to watch Wales with his debenture tickets.

“I wanted to be on the pitch and to play here every since those days. It would be hard to sum up in words considering where I was four years ago and that my whole life since I dreamt of being a professional rugby player was about one day going to a World Cup.

“I just remember that I really wanted to be on the pitch and play for Wales. I’ve not been able to do that for just shy two years and to be able to play again, against the current world champions. Hopefully it will all be topped off on Monday with selection for the World Cup.”

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Williams’ return from injury wasn’t all plain sailing as Wales got crushed by South Africa 52-16, a record home defeat against the Springboks. The Scarlets centre was one of the better players, albeit far from perfect, with the powerful midfielder getting over the gain-line throughout, although he did concede an interception try.



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