The low point came in early summer, when there was a real possibility that former Wales captain Scott Williams might have to look abroad to continue his rugby career.
He and Osprey parted ways after a three-year relationship, during which Kendra played just 27 games amid much misfortune with injuries.
In a revealing interview in October 2020, Williams admitted that he had not played without pain for 21 months. The memory of the Wales international missing tackles against Ulster in the autumn of 2019 is still clear, that he would have normally been difficult to make any impact in an attack without a hitch.
His body would not be able to cash the check that his mind was writing. It hurt to see
Then I faced a shoulder problem in January last year while playing against the Dragons. This was to prove his last Osprey game.
The challenge after his exit from the Swansea-based arena was to find another team to play in Wales, but there was no mad rush in the fields to pick him up.
At one point it looked like the much-respected West Valiant might have to accept a deal to play in France. There was some opinion that his best days were in the past.
But Scarlett eventually signed on and there are signs he oversaw a smart piece of business.
Williams – who captained Wales in preparations for the 2015 Rugby World Cup – has been outstanding for them, turning back the clock with a series of official performances. Against Benetton in October, he made two attempts, beat four defenders and returned a clean defensive sheet: 11 tackles, none missed.
He was equally effective against the Osprey earlier this month, and four months into the season, he is the only regional player to win two official man-of-the-match awards in 2021-22.
“He has been one of our most consistent players,” Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peele said ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup match against Bordeaux off the field on Sunday.
“When you go to another club, sometimes it works for you and you succeed. When Scotty was at Osprey he had some injuries and didn’t look his best.
“He’s clearly disappointed with that approach.
“He was looking forward to coming back and it was great for us to have him back.
“He’s the epitome of what we want to be. He loves to wear shirts and will work hard every day for us. He’s also leading. I’ve had him captain on several occasions when Fox (Jonathan Davis) She has an aura about her that boys want to follow.
“I think he has to go honestly, but from where he was 18 months ago, battling with an injury and picking up bad luck, he seems happy and content.
“I am happy with what he has given us on and off the field,” he said.
“He’s been great with our young boys.”
Williams has played five of the six matches Scarlett has played this season.
The major injury affecting his stint with the Osprey was a back problem.
Ahead of the 2019 World Cup, when he reported for training camp for Wales’ extended squad, it got to the point he could barely bend. “When Scott first came to camp, he was really struggling with his back,” Warren Gatland reported back. “He couldn’t bend down to take the ball off the field.”
This says much to the determination of the Newcastle Emline player to come close to finding a place in Gatland’s squad for the global tournament in Japan.
He had hamstring and ankle problems as well as the aforementioned shoulder injury during his Osprey stay.
Some things just aren’t meant to be.
But he is working at a high level this season. “The two best players in Welsh rugby this period have been Osprey’s Scott and Jack Morgan,” said a close observer of the regional scene. “Scott, in particular, has been excellent.”
A good start for Williams in his first game in a scarlet shirt. Against Edinburgh at the end of September he had anything to do with it – a guinealine-denting carry, a late pass, a sweetly executed pass, a clean break, a ground maid.
Is he playing well enough now to add to his 58 Wells cap? Could he be a substitute for Wayne Pivac when he names his Six Nations squad next week?
“Wayne will have his own take on Scotty,” Peele said.
“I can only say what I see in him.
“He’s been great to us. If he fits into Wayne’s game-plan, I support him.
It is a heart touching story.
Whether or not Pivac picks him next week, Williams has shown true character this season, and there are no more valuables in rugby.
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