Richard Hodges has hailed the “exemplary” leadership attributes of Tomos Williams, who will captain his home club for the first time on Saturday, as Cardiff take on Brive.
The Wales international scrum half, who made his first team debut back in 2013, will lead the Blue and Blacks in their final pool stage clash of the Challenge Cup at Brive. The former Treorchy man has grown from strength-to-strength during his time at the capital, becoming a key player for both club and country.
The Cardiff defence coach has enjoyed watching the scrum half’s growth, both on and off the field, in recent months with the academy graduate settling into a leadership role within the squad.
“I’ve seen a big difference in the last 12 months with Tomos, and we all have as a coaching team,” said Hodges.
“He obviously went to South Africa with Wales over the summer and was on the bench for all three Tests. I don’t know if that’s what fuelled his fire, as well as being in-and-around Lions selection previously as well.
“He was hampered by some injuries towards the back-end of last year, which played up.
“But on and off the field this season he’s been exemplary, including for the youngsters in our group. When Tomos speaks people listen. He’s not someone who speaks an awful lot, but he does speak a lot of sense. We’ve been really impressed with him.
“Obviously the way we finished last season was embarrassing for a lot of us. But I cannot speak highly enough on the role that the likes of Tomos, Liam Williams, Josh Adams and the senior Welsh boys have had on in-and-around the group in getting us back on track.
“The leadership that he shows and exhibits on a daily basis, whether in team meetings or in sessions, makes people sit up and listen.
“He’s been superb, and I don’t say that lightly. He exhibits everything you want from a captain.
“Josh Turnbull has done a fantastic job for us this year and has really settled into the captaincy role, and he’s having a rest this weekend.
“So Tomos will take the captaincy armband, and he thoroughly deserves it because of the type of person he’s been alongside, as we all know, the excellent player that he is.
“He’s really grown and matured into that leadership role and deserves the captaincy.”
Hodges has witnessed Williams’ development at first hand, having been the club’s academy manager when the scrum half came through the pathway and now serving as the first team defence coach - and he expects more to come from the 40 cap international.
“As a youngster he always had a bit of an edge to him, which you can still see in the way that he plays the game now,” added the former Wales under-20 coach.
“He’s the product of a great club environment at Treorchy, and has a great family background as well.
“When he came into the under-18s, he quickly took it by storm and won age grade international caps.
“He’s just continued to grow and over the next two or three years he could really become a big player on the big stages.”