John Mulvihill revealed there was barely a dry eye in the building as Nick Williams was surprised by a Christmas visit from his mum.
In recognition of his service to the region and the length of time he has been plying his trade in Europe, Cardiff Blues decided to fly Aolele Williams from Auckland for the festive season.
During a team meeting, in which Mulvihill highlighted the team’s three core values, Williams was treated to a surprise video message from his mum in New Zealand.
But unbeknown to the giant number eight, his mum had in fact landed at Cardiff Airport in the early hours and was about to sneak into the room.
“I spoke to Nick a while back and we talked about his mum. He said she had never seen him play rugby in the UK and he’s been here 12 years.“So, we talked about it as a coaching group and a management staff and came up with the idea of let’s bring her over.
“We organised that a few weeks ago with help from Nick’s wife Gemma. I also spoke to his brother Tim Nanai-Williams, who is over in France with Clermont, and they got it organised.
“Mike Brown (Head of Communications and Marketing) (plus close family friends Mark and Tracy Anscombe) went to meet her up at the airport at 5am this morning. I don’t think he’s ever been up that early.
“At the team meeting, I spoke about how a lot of family members in the group are not in Wales but scattered all around the world.
“Then we played the video message which Nick’s mum had done for him and you could see he had a few tears.
“I said ‘Mate, she has sent you a gift and you need to come and get it’ and I had something that was wrapped up.
“He walked up to me and gave me a hug and I said ‘Mate, this isn’t your gift, here’s your gift, here’s mum behind you’.
“It was fantastic. It was a really, really touching moment and it’s something the boys in that room will remember forever.
“I had to keep it together at the front. There were a lot of boys with heads down and shirts over their faces. But that’s good, that’s what we are about.
“That’s the importance of family within our group. Nick is someone who is the cultural, spiritual leader for us on and off the field.
“We just thought if we could do something special to make him feel good about himself and the family at this time of the year, it would be great for everyone.
“He struggled for a little bit. He finally got his words out and he was really thankful for everyone.”
Williams is unlikely to be available for Saturday’s showdown with the Ospreys but is in line to feature throughout the remained of the festive season.
Tickets for Cardiff Blues’ Boxing Day derby against the Dragons and the Scarlets on January 3, are available now by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.