Since Rhys Williams arrived at the London Broncos in 2015, he has been ever-present in the side. Not having missed a single game since his debut, Rhys is now the highest capped player in the squad, something he is incredibly – and rightly – proud of.
The Welsh winger has also just signed a new two year deal, which will mean, in 2019, that he has been a London Bronco for five years.
You recently re-signed here for another two seasons. What was the catalyst behind the decision?
Basically, I’m happy here. I had a good season last year and have enjoyed this one too, but as long as I was happy, the decision was easy. The environment is right and the boys around me are all good players and good friends too, so staying in London is the best move for my career right now.
Where do you see the club this season?
Well, it’s a bit of a different squad from last year. I think we played a little more of an expansive game, and this season we have had to adapt a little bit from the way we started. To be honest, I think we can play both styles of rugby and it’s all about finding the balance. We are now in the same position as last year, and we should be in good stead come the Super 8s. I think we can, and have learned a lot from last year, but we still have more to learn and a bit further to go in the journey. The best thing about the squad is that we are hungry. Hungry for success, hungry for more, and most importantly hungry to learn.
We had a great run of ten wins, which unfortunately ended against Hull. Did the defeat make the boys realise how big the difference is between Championship and Super League?
No, I’d say, as we know the difference from playing Hull and other Super League teams last year, so we know what we have to do to beat them. The fact of the matter, is we didn’t do it against Hull KR.
The way we have been playing over the last ten or eleven weeks and the way we had to adapt our style of play to compete and build pressure and put in the kicks since the early part of the season wasn’t there last week. We didn’t play to the best of our ability, or to the game plan. We are more than capable of beating Hull and other Super League teams, we just have to go out there and perform, and we didn’t.
We had a large change of personnel in the off season – did that upset the balance of the team early on?
It’s hard to say really. When a large group of players come in it takes time to adjust. We were lucky to a degree, as we had a few players come in that we already knew. Jarrod Sammut, for example, some of us knew from before. Other players had played here before, like Kieran Dixon and Michael Channing.
We understand that looking from the outside in it would be a seamless transition, but that is not always the case. These guys had a new head coach and had to adapt to what he wanted, and taking it onto the field isn’t always easy at first. Over Easter we had a real reality check – we had to sit down and say this is how it’s going to be done, this how we play here and from that point on you’ve seen the run we went on, and the squad have now started to gel as a whole.
Outside of rugby league, living in London, what do you like to do?
My brother doesn’t live too far away as he is only in Welwyn Garden City and my sister was living close too when I signed, and they were a big reason that I did sign to be closer to them. I like to relax really. I go out and see different parts of the city now and again when I’ve got time and energy. I like to hang out with friends. A meal out every once in a while.
The World Cup is later this year in Australia. Have you had the call yet?
No, I haven’t had it just yet! We are all in a preliminary group chat with the potential squad kind of thing. Obviously, I want to be there having played for Wales for ten years now.
It’s something I am very proud to do, and not something I expected when I started my career. We have got to right some wrongs from the last World Cup, as looking back I watched highlights of our game against the USA, with Mark Offerdahl, and I couldn’t remember a thing about it. I think it was such a bad experience as a whole and a hugely frustrating time.
Wales had played so well in the tournaments before with two European Cups, the Four Nations, that we had had high hopes and to end the way it did was devastating. Since then John Kear has been great, and to qualify the way we did against a strong Italian side shows how far we have come. I’m excited again to play for Wales. I cannot wait.
Does it help John Kear having as many Welsh players here together as he does?
Yes, I think it does. Three of us are outside backs so it’s going to help in a major way. A few of us have been in the national side for a few years too. We all know each other extremely well and it makes it easier for someone to come in who maybe hasn’t featured as much in the past. Elliot Kear and I have played together for a while, and you have Ben Evans and Michael Channing too all playing well so hopefully we can carry our team form through to Australia later in the year.
What does it mean to pull on the Broncos jersey every week?
It means a lot to me. Hopefully I have proved that by not missing a game since I arrived here. I am very proud of that record too. I played for Warrington once every four or five weeks then I would be out on loan but here I have been able to play steadily for nearly two years now. I am immensely proud to be able to say I play for London every week with friends who feel the same way as I do.
What would you like to say to the fans?
Please keep chirpin’ up! It’s great to see the loud and proud crowd turning up every week, and they should know we are as proud of them as they are of us.