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Great Scott! Keiran is now ‘Keith’

Keiran Williams on the charge against Ulster

Great Scott! Keiran is now ‘Keith’

Keiran Williams used to be flattered to be called ‘Gibbsy’ by his team mates. These days, though, he is just plain ‘Keith’.

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The former Wales U20 centre earned the exalted status of being called his first nickname because he was likened in size and stature to the great Wales and British & Irish Lions ace Scott Gibbs.

His pocket-rocket style mirrored that introduced by the explosive Gibbs into the midfield at Swansea, Wales, St Helens, Wales rugby league, the Ospreys and the Lions. So to be compared to one of the modern day icons of Welsh rugby was quite a thing for the young prototype.

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“Scott has a massive pedigree to his name and we all remember that try he scored against England at Wembley in 1999,” said Williams.

“Some days I’d forget my own name because so many people were calling me Scott Gibbs. It was nice and it was certainly flattering.

“It was obviously flattering to be called ‘Gibbsy’, and to be compared to Scott, but that has finally worn off. Now I’m called ‘Keith’.

“I was told by one of my teammates that I look like a ‘Keith’ and so that’s what everyone now calls me. I simply don’t know why – and it’s not so flattering.

“Hopefully, I can achieve some of what Scott achieved in the game. It is always a dream to pull on a Welsh jersey, but I’m not thinking about that at the moment – I just want to play as many minutes as possible for the Ospreys and to enjoy my rugby.”

But the comparisons with the great Scott will continue when his performances are put under the microscope because he is becoming more and more influential in the Ospreys side. He has become the go-to man in midfield when his side wants to make ground.

His low centre of gravity, coupled with his speed off the mark and power, make him difficult to bring down. He is finally back to playing as well as he was in his age group three seasons ago, and looks to be heading in the right direction.

A succession of injuries initially made life difficult for him in his transition period from U20 to senior rugby. A bad ankle injury was followed by groin problems, but they are now just distant memories for the fit and firing 23-year-old.

“It was a torrid time for me after the injury and it did hit me for six. I had a few more problems on the back or that, but now I’m feeling fit and fresh and hopeful that all of those problems are behind me,” said Williams.

“It took a toll on me mentally and it was a tough time. Injuries like that do spring a few doubts in your mind.”

He needn’t have worried, though, because once he got back to fitness the Ospreys gave him a new contract and are now benefitting from his development alongside senior Wales internationals Scott Williams and Owen Watkin, as well as U20 cap Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.

With seven starts this season he has become the senior partner for Toby Booth’s side in the centre and is hoping to get the nod to face Cardiff Blues in the second round of Welsh derby matches on Friday night.

“The goal for 2021 is to keep on starting and to keep on enjoying the game. It has been a bit of a stop start season, but we have definitely taken some steps forward,” added Williams.

“I want to be a more all round player and that will game with more game time. My skill levels aren’t where I want them to be and I’m working hard on them in every session.

“I like to carry the ball, but I try not to run into the big boys – I try to run between them.”

That said, Cardiff Blues can expect to have to meet him head on if they are to stop him making an impact at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.

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