Young Cardiff Blues full-back Rhun Williams could be forced to retire aged just 20 due to a shoulder injury.
A product of the RGC development pathway, Williams moved down to join Cardiff Blues at the start of the 2016/17 season after starring for the Wales U20 Grand Slam winning side of 2016. He would go on to play for the U20s again in 2017, eventually finishing with 12 caps for the side.
Williams started life in South Wales playing for Cardiff RFC in the Welsh Premiership, but after three tries in five games he was fast-tracked into the first team setup, making his debut against Benetton in November 2016, and scoring a try.
He went on to score three more tries in 12 appearances during the course of that season, earning a call-up to the Wales squad for summer games against Samoa and Tonga, but cruelly picked up an ankle injury early on against Stade Francais in the last game of the season, and was forced to withdraw from the tour.
After recovering from that knockback, Rhun bounced back to become a key member of Danny Wilson’s first team squad during 2017/18, making 15 appearances in all competitions, and claiming the 15 jersey at the start of Cardiff Blues unbeaten run in February.
It was during that run of games that Williams would unfortunately pick up the injury which could now cause his career to be cut short.
In a tight game away to Zebre, the score was 7-10 to Cardiff Blues just before half-time when big Zebre lock Gabriele di Giulio looked like he was going to score for the hosts in the corner.
Across came Rhun Williams who, despite being the considerably smaller man, put in a huge hit on the marauding ball carrier and pushed him into touch. It saved an almost certain try at a crucial time in the game, and also our season as a whole. Last year could have panned out very differently had he not made the tackle.
Unfortunately that hit resulted in the full-back suffering from a serious shoulder injury, that subsequently resulted in a severe nerve injury, and it is this which threatens to bring the curtain down on a very promising career.
The suggestion is that the full-back is unable to lift his arm above the horizontal, resulting in him not being able to participate in contact or gym work, as well as impacting upon his life outside of rugby.
Williams has all the attributes to make it as a multiple capped Wales international, a committed defender and an exciting counter-attacker, he has everything required to make it to the top as a full-back.
Speaking to The Rugby Paper today, Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill sounded hopeful that Rhun will make a full recovery from his injury, but at this time no date has been set on any possible return.