There was no fairy-tale ending to Aolele Williams’ surprise visit to Cardiff as the Scarlets clung on for a hard-fought derby victory on Friday night, but it will remain a memory of a lifetime.
On Cardiff Blues digital channels alone, more than 2 million people were reached and 700,000 watched on as Nick Williams was left in tears by a surprise Christmas visit from his mother.
Injury threatened to deny Aolele the opportunity to watch Nick play live for the first time in more than 12 years, and ever in Europe.
But the hulking number eight, who has become a firm crowd favourite during his four years at the Arms Park, started in Friday’s sell out derby.
And while it was not the result the entire Cardiff Blues family wanted, it was still a special moment for the Williams family.\
Reflecting on the Christmas surprise, Nick Williams said: “Funny things that happened before that now start to make sense. My wife, Gemma, was being a bit of quiet. I thought she was just missing home.
“When my mum came in that day, it all fell into place and it’s a day I’ll never forget. I am still pinching myself.
“It’s been great for my kids to spend some time with her and she’s loved being with them.
“It’s just been great being able to spend as much time as I can with my mum before she goes back.
“This is a job, it’s a business, we are very blessed to do it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. But having a happy family is so important and this has been a really special time.”