Wales under-20 prop Adam Williams admits the prospect of running out at Cardiff Arms Park as a first team player would fulfil a lifelong dream.
Making the move from Dragons, Williams has penned an academy deal with the Blue and Blacks while also playing his part in Wales under-20’s charge to the Six Nations Summer Series final, where they will take on South Africa on Tuesday.
The tighthead prop, who cites Adam Jones as his idol, has spoken about the move to the capital and is excited at the opportunity to learn from former Cardiff, Wales and Lions prop, Dai Young.
“I can’t wait, I’m really excited. The move came around off the back of some of my performances in the Under 20 Six Nations,” explains Williams.
“Gruff actually got in touch during the tournament, which dangled a bit of a carrot for me, so I tried to take that opportunity with both hands.
“I always used to go to watch Cardiff when I was younger and have always enjoyed watching their style of rugby.
“I didn’t support a team, but was always going to various games with my Dad, who is an avid rugby fan.
“I always loved going down to Cardiff Arms Park. The atmosphere is always fantastic, and it’s a great day out. We’d go to watch the Boxing Day matches every year, and I really enjoyed the occasions in those derbies.
“So to move down to the Arms Park is really exciting and if I was lucky enough to get a run out there one day that would be a dream come true.
“There is also the potential opportunity to work under Dai Young, who was a prop himself who achieved so much in the game. Hopefully, if I graduate into the seniors, I can learn from himself and that was something else that appealed to me.”
The Abergavenny native began his rugby journey with Hereford RFC and also featured in the Worcester Warriors age grade system.
Williams followed in the footsteps of former Cardiff star, Hallam Amos, in attending Monmouth School for Boys, learning from former Blue and Black legend, John Bevan.
The tighthead prop, who weighs 120 kilograms and stands at 6ft 1in, is aiming to make his mark with the Rags initially and hopes the familiar faces in the building will result in a smooth transition at the Arms Park.
Williams added: “Cardiff have been a couple of steps ahead of the other clubs in terms of development in recent years. They’ve aligned themselves with the Rags, and it sounds like others might follow suit and take their example.
“They’re already well versed in that programme, and it was a big part in the decision. Gruff has already explained the system, how it’s going to work and it’s a programme that I’m excited to get involved in.
“You only have to look at players like Theo Cabango, who has done very well out of that alignment, and it’s a really good opportunity because you’ll be under Dai’s watch when you play for Cardiff RFC.
“It’s a great opportunity to get some exposure and try to make the leap up to the seniors.
“Seeing boys of a similar age bracket to me getting opportunities to progress enticed me to come here.
“It also works well for me in terms of balancing my rugby with my studies, being in Cardiff University.
“There are boys in the Wales under-20 squad, like Mason Grady and Efan Daniel, who are on professional contracts and therefore train constantly with the seniors.
“Whether I’m with the seniors or academy group, there will be familiar faces around from the 20’s, which is brilliant. That will help me to gel in and be comfortable in the environment and that’s a bonus.
“My scrummaging is certainly a strength of mine and something that got me into the academy environment in the first place.
“As a tighthead prop, if you can’t scrummage you won’t be picked. That’s something you’ve always got to back yourself on.
“With the size I’ve got, I try to be as physical as I can around the park in terms of breakdown, carries, tackles. That’s where I try to have an impact on the game.
“I haven’t played professional rugby yet, but Under-20 rugby is definitely a step-up compared to any standard of rugby I’ve ever played, especially the speed of the game and the physicality.
“Playing well in these games will put you in good stead as you start to prepare to play first team rugby.
“But also having the experience of being in camp and playing international rugby against top quality opposition will always be good exposure.
“I’ve had to make a lot of adaptations but the experience has definitely done me the world of good.”