Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Williams testimonial scheduled

Martyn Williams

Cardiff Blues have confirmed that they will take on local rivals Newport Gwent Dragons in a testimonial match for Martyn Williams on August 27.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions flanker has been with Cardiff since moving from Pontypridd in 1999 and the Cardiff City Stadium clash will kick off his celebrations.

Williams, whose younger brother and mother died of cancer, will use a series of events to raise money for the NSPCC and Velindre Cancer Centre.

The occasion will mark the first time the Blues and Dragons have met in a friendly, but they have met 14 times in the Magners League with the Blues winning 10 and the Dragons four.

The 34-year-old, who has 95 Wales caps to his name, is gearing up for the start of the new season after being rested for summer fixtures against South Africa and New Zealand, with head coach Warren Gatland desperate to ensure his first-choice openside is in the best possible shape for next year's World Cup.

He will also be looking to help his region build on their Amlin Challenge Cup victory of last season.

He said: "I feel very honoured to be awarded a testimonial game and really grateful to Bob Norster, Peter Thomas and Dai Young for arranging it. I'm not aware of Cardiff or the Blues ever arranging a fixture for a player before so it's very humbling to be granted a match.

"When I first joined Cardiff our biggest rivals were always Newport. They had the some real quality players like Shane Howarth, Jason Foster, Gary Teichmann, and Percy Montgomery and they were some of the toughest games of my career, especially down at Rodney Parade.

"The atmosphere, because they were local derbies, was always brilliant so to play another Welsh region in a pre season friendly is a bit special. It's on a bank holiday weekend so hopefully the sun will be shining and we will have a big crowd down.

"The Dragons were one of the most improved sides last season and they've got a great squad down there which they've strengthened during the summer. They are starting to get the recognition they maybe should have had earlier. In a way they are a side you never want to play against because they always make it difficult for you."

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