Belfast Telegraph

Kingspan old boy Nick Williams making strides at Cardiff

By Jonathan Bradley

While all the talk recently has been about what Charles Piutau will bring to Ulster this season, a former Kiwi favourite at the Kingspan has been settling in well to life at PRO12 rivals Cardiff.

Nick Williams moved to the Arms Park ahead of this season after four successful years in Belfast, and his new head coach Danny Wilson is thrilled with the start the 32-year-old has made.

"Nick Williams was superb," said Wilson after his try-scoring competitive debut against Edinburgh.

"He showed exactly why we brought him here and what he can bring.

"His physicality is another level and we saw some skills as well. His performance was top drawer.

"He's very impressive on and off the field. He's a man of few words but huge values, a big family man.

"That's left an imprint on the squad already. He definitely leads by example, not necessarily by words.

"When we played Bristol (in a friendly) the crowd got a first look at the physicality he can bring but it's the subtle things too.

"We all think of him as a big physical player but his skills are phenomenal.

"The softer skills that go with that physicality have made him a favourite already and hopefully that continues.

"Players and supporters are thrilled that we can bring the likes of Nick here because it shows the intent that we have.

"He may be at the other end of his career but he's plenty left as he showed in the two games against us last year."

With Cardiff taking on Williams' old club Munster this evening (7.35pm, Irish Independent Park), new team-mate Macauley Cook has also been impressed.

"Nick is an excellent player - we all knew that from having played against him for years while he was at Ulster," he said.

"He's incredibly fit for his age, he trains hard and always looks sharp. I've been very impressed. His carrying work is excellent.

"All the new boys have done very well over the summer. They've come in, worked very hard in pre-season, and it shows."

FIXTURES, Tonight: NG Dragons v Zebre (7.15pm); Edinburgh v Scarlets (7.35pm); Munster v Cardiff Blues (7.35pm)

Tomorrow: Glasgow v Leinster (3.00pm); Benetton Treviso v Ulster (6.05pm); Connacht v Ospreys (7.35pm)

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