Amongst all the hullabaloo of Humphreys’ departure and O’Connor’s rumoured return we got fed a little snippet that Ulster’s last NIQ for next season rumoured to be ex Munster and Aironi player Nick Williams.
The Wiki entry for Williams reads as follows:
Nick Williams (born 2 December 1983 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a rugby union player who played for Munster in the Magners League and Heineken Cup for 2 seasons. Williams won 19 caps for Munster and scored 4 tries, including a hat-trick against the Newport Gwent Dragons. He previously played for North Harbour in the Air New Zealand Cup and for the Blues in the Super 14. His position is No 8. Williams joined Aironi on a 1 year deal for the 2010/2011 season.
Don’t know if Williams has had any contact with new coach Anscombe but given that they are both from Auckland and Williams did feature for the Baby Blacks a good few years ago it’s not implausible that their paths crossed.
Williams is a useful enough player, despite going backwards somewhat with Munster and Aironi, in fairness largely due to injury, and as an explosive back row he is more than capable of doing a job. He only played a couple of times against Ulster in the last few seasons but I wasn’t particularly fond of seeing him on the opposition team sheet as he was always capable of causing problems.
I would have worries over his general fitness and his discipline but in his 19 games for Munster and 23 games for Aironi he has managed to score eight tries though he has also chalked up four yellow cards in that time, three with Aironi this season.
However, with the IRFU “Ulster windfall” drying up this season and no increase in attendances over the last few season’s this is frankly, as with Anscombe, the sort of gamble that Ulster have to take for the next few seasons until the projected attendance increases from the proposed redevelopment of Ravers start to kick in.
Don’t know how reliable this rumour is, but it’s the sort of signing the Ulster Brethren should expect, unless our CEO can “evangelize” some more cash out of somewhere!