EACH AND EVERY TIME TEDDY WILLIAMS PREPARES TO TAKE THE FIELD, HE CAREFULLY PENS ‘DAD’ ONTO HIS WRIST STRAPPING.
Rugby of course, was always in the young second-row’s blood and it acts as a poignant reminder of his father who sadly passed away in September 2021, following a long battle with cancer.
Today, Teddy follows in his father’s footsteps, pulling on the famous Blue and Black jersey at his beloved Arms Park, doing what he always set out to do.
Williams said: “I wouldn’t say it drives me, I just know how much my dad used to love watching any of us play. He used to be at all the games, and he would have loved to have seen some of the games we’ve had down here recently.
“Looking back over the last year, to the Stormers game when I came on or when we beat Leinster last season, those stand out matches I just know he would have loved them.
“I probably didn’t realise how highly held Dad is at Cardiff. You probably take it a little bit for granted that he was a rugby player but he was also just Dad.”
Teddy is too young to remember his father playing 221 games for the Blue and Blacks but he has fond memories of watching the likes of Xavier Rush, Paul Tito and Martyn Williams from the terraces with his dad, brothers and friends.
As one of four brothers, with Owain as Dad and former Wales and British Lions star Gareth Williams as an uncle, Teddy was always destined to pick up an oval ball.
He began playing at CRICC Caerdydd and was soon part of the Cardiff Schools system, first playing at Under- 11s and then Under-15s.
He continued to play at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr and then moved to Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf for sixth form where he was captained by former Cardiff and now Dragons full- back Ioan Davies and played alongside Theo Cabango and Mason Grady.
He said: “I’m the third of four brothers and all four of us played rugby. One of my older brothers stopped due to a shoulder injury, the other plays in the second-row for Richmond in the English Championship and my youngest brother has just been picked up by Cardiff Under-16s.
“We’re all pretty competitive and there’s a bit of a gap to my youngest brother so I bore the brunt of it all as the younger of the first three! It probably stood me in good stead really.
“But we were always playing a lot of sport, mainly rugby but I enjoyed football and cricket.”
The Cardiff University Student progressed into the Cardiff Rugby Pathway and then the academy, where he won seven Wales Under-20s caps.
He made his senior debut for the club against Benetton in 2020, and has gone on to make 18 appearances for the club, most recently the bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons in the European Challenge Cup.
But Williams is far from content with his contribution so far, juggling his studies in Civil Engineering with rugby, he strives for more and has set his sights on a starting jersey.
He said: “I love playing here. It’s the club I supported as a youngster and it’s special to play at the Arms Park. We’ve got a really good group and there’s a good group of my friends here.
“I’m always looking to play. The last few years I’ve had to bide my time but hopefully I can keep on getting as many games as I can. Now I just want to start some games and put some games together, build on performances.
“It’s been alright so far but starting is the next target. Once I do that I will really know where I am.”
Reflecting on his highlights so far: “Leinster last season stands out. We had to execute a lot of things to come back and beat them and everyone did their job. In the last five minutes everything went to plan and we managed to snatch it back.
“When you look back maybe it was a taste of what was to come. It was a bit of a one off as we were so up and down but now we are performing at a much more consistent level. We’ve come on loads since then.
“We’ve still had tough games but the performances have generally been pretty good whereas last year we could be brilliant one week and terrible the next. That was a big thing for us to improve this season.
“The win at the Scarlets earlier this year was really big for us. It was on the back of a bit of a tough period where we were really determined to bounce back.
“The Christmas derbies always stand out and are some of the more memorable occasions. It’s always a big crowd so it would be great to be involved.
“I played against the Scarlets at home last year, which was a tough day at the office where I learnt a lot. Dragons in the Rainbow Cup - it was one of my first games playing and I scored which is nice but it was during covid times and there was no crowd.”
Alongside rugby and his degree, Williams took time out of his busy schedule at the end of last season to cycle more than 500km from the Arms Park to Paris, in aid of the club’s Community Foundation.
Charity remains close to Williams’ heart, particularly Marie Curie and City Hospice, who looked after and supported Owain throughout his illness.
He added: “Marie Curie and City Hospice were both brilliant with Dad. In the last few months every day there were nurses coming around multiple times.
It was so helpful and I am grateful to have experienced just how much amazing work these charities do .
To find out more about Marie Curie and City Hospice you can click on the links below to visit their websites.