One of only two Welshmen with a core contract in the GB Sevens squad, Williams is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. He missed out on Hong Kong in the first round last month and is already counting down the days before he can join countryman Morgan Williams in the newly formed outfit.
“I sustained the injury in the Commonwealth Games in July in Birmingham,” said Williams. “It’s just like a shoulder dislocation and it’s called a Laterjet procedure where they fix up the shoulder.
“It’s roughly a 20-week recovery process and I’m about 15 weeks done so there’s the best part of a month to go so I’m aiming for the New Zealand and Australia tournaments which are at the end of January.
“I can’t wait because it’s been a bit hard watching the boys, travelling, and playing away. While they are away, I’m obviously here training back at the Vale doing my rehab so I’m away from the team environment which is difficult.”
Morgan Williams is one of 11 players returning from the Hong Kong tournament where Great Britain picked up five points to find themselves outside of the top 10 after the first round.
Originally from North Wales, he made his debut on the World Series in round eight of the 2015/16 season, in Singapore.
In the fourth round of the 2016/17 series in Sydney, he became the first Welsh player to score a hat-trick against Fiji since Rhys Jones achieved the accolade four years earlier.
He played in Vancouver and Edmonton for Team GB in the 2021 series and also played in the first two legs of the 2021-22 HSBC Sevens World Series before Scotland, England and Wales reformed for the 2022/23 world series.
Tom Williams was born in Shrewsbury, and grew up in Montgomery in Mid Wales on Welsh-English border.
He attended RGC Academy and went to school at Rydal Penrhos where he did his A levels. Playing for Wales U18s at the time he got picked up by the Ospreys where he made his debut for the region in 2017.
He joined Ayrshire Bulls in 2021 to play his club rugby in Scotland but returned to the abbreviated form of the game later in the year when returning to the World Series with Great Britain Sevens.
In the first two legs of the 2021/22 HSBC Sevens World Series, he played for GB before returning to Wales for the third leg when the four home nations reverted back to their individual countries.
“When I was at the Ospreys I was in and out of the sevens programme for a number of years – last year was my first full year with Wales sevens as a contracted sevens player,” explained Tom Williams who has also played for Wales U20s.
“The natural progression was to try and get into the GB Sevens squad for this season and looking to the future for potentially the Olympics in two years’ time is the end goal in terms of sevens at the moment.”
Both players see themselves as flagbearers for the Welsh cause as they hope their form on the international stage will encourage future generations of players to put their hands up for selection.
“That’s definitely part of our role now – there are only two of us from Wales – hopefully we can inspire more players to take up sevens,” said Tom.
“It’s a growing game and it is probably not where it needs to be or doesn’t have the profile it could have but with another Olympics cycle hopefully that can continue to grow as I think Rio in 2016 gave a real big boost to Sevens so hopefully the Paris Olympics can do the same.”
In the short term Williams will be focusing on his namesake as he prepares to take on South Africa, Australia and Kenya in Pool A in Dubai.
“He has followed a very similar path to me. We were in the same age grade teams in North Wales, we were in RGC and the Ospreys as well,” explained Tom.
“The first time we played together was North Wales U12s or U13s I think it was, so we have played with each other all the way through since we were young. It’s quite cool being in the same programme now even in this stage in our late 20s and in the GB Sevens programme together.”
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 – Dubai
Fri 02 Dec 2022 – Pool A
South Africa v Great Britain KO 07:34
Australia v Great Britain KO 11.42
Kenya v Great Britain KO 16