Liam Williams not planning to end Wales career despite move to Japan
The Wales full-back is firmly on course to play in a third World Cup, with head coach Warren Gatland naming his 33-player squad next Monday.
After that, though, 32-year-old Williams will feature for Japanese club Kubota Spears in a domestic league that runs from December to May.
Williams won his 85th cap in Wales’ World Cup warm-up defeat against England at Twickenham, delivering a high-class display which was all the more impressive given that he had not played since March.
“I haven’t said I am retiring any time soon,” Williams said, ahead of next Saturday’s appointment with world champions South Africa in Cardiff.
“I will be in Japan for two years and we will see where that takes us and whether I am still available or not.
“I will speak to ‘Gats’ probably after the World Cup and towards the end of the season out there (in Japan).
“If they (Wales) want to take me to Australia for the summer tour next year, I will be available for that, but that is up to them.”
Gatland has hinted that he will include only four back-three players in the World Cup squad, which undoubtedly intensifies competition during the final week before selection.
It would be a huge surprise if Williams does not make the final cut, though – and start Wales’ opener against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10.
“I said to myself that I haven’t played since March so I am going to go out and have a decent game and have a bit of fun,” Williams added, reflecting on events at Twickenham.
I was just happy to stick that shirt on again. It has been a little while
“I was just happy to stick that shirt on again. It has been a little while.
“You can’t really replicate the game intensity when you are training. You can go as hard as you want, but you can’t get the intensity of a game – especially with the rucks and amount of contact you take.
“I felt pretty good in the game. I was just glad to last 80 minutes.
“I am getting on a bit now, I am 32, and I’m just trying to enjoy my last couple of years.
“It is about going out there with a smile on my face, play hard, try to win and, most importantly, I am playing for my country.”
Whatever happens regarding Williams’ Wales prospects after the World Cup, he is enthused by a crop of young backs that have emerged in recent months.
Players like Tom Rogers, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Joe Roberts and Sam Costelow have been part of Gatland’s training squad and Williams believes the future is bright.
“I think it will be great for Wales for years to come,” he said. “These young boys coming through is great – we definitely needed that.
“Sam Costelow has been great, as has Max (Llewellyn). Mason is like a freak of nature, there’s ‘Tommy Rog’ and I thought Joe Roberts was class on the weekend.”
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