Tom Williams the missing piece of the puzzle

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Cardiff Blues have offered wing/full-back Tom Williams a playing contract after impressing on trial this summer following his release by the Scarlets at the end of last season.

The 27-year-old returns to the Arms Park after coming through the academy system of the Cardiff Blues, alongside brother Lloyd, before moving West in the summer of 2015 in what was initially a loan move before it was made permanent.

An injury hit spell at Parc y Scarlets saw first team chances restricted, although he did score four tries in four games during February of this year, and he was let go by Wayne Pivac with the likes of Steff Evans, Johnny McNicholl and new signing Clayton Blommetjies ahead of him in the back three rankings.

After speaking to WalesOnline about life without a contact and looking at opportunities away from rugby with a wealth management company, Williams was offered a chance to return to the Arms Park where he made 22 appearances in three seasons between the Pro12 and Anglo-Welsh Cup during his first spell.

Tom Williams Scarlets
Tom Williams crosses the line in Scarlets colours

Strong showings against Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs in pre-season caught the eye, specifically his proficiency under the high ball and his counter attacking, and after appearing in Cardiff Blues gear at the Arms Park on Friday for the first league game of the season and in the official team photo, it appears he will be here for the year.

His signing comes after a proposed move for former Dragons full-back Carl Meyer did not work out, with the South African this week moving to former club Ebbw Vale in the Principality Premiership. It is thought injury issues might have scuppered his chances in Cardiff.

It also follows the news that Rhun Williams career is under threat after the shoulder injury suffered against Zebre in February has some serious complications in relation to his ability to move his arm.

With Owen Lane potentially involved in Team Wales squads this season, and Blaine Scully likely to be more available for USA Eagles squads in the run-up to the World Cup, resilience is required in a back three department that may have been forced to rely on youth to bolster it.

Tom Williams Cardiff Blues 2
Tom Williams makes a tackle against Wasps in November 2012

There is plenty of talent coming through in the form of Aled Summerhill, Harri Millard and Daf Smith, amongst others, but experience at the back in defence and under the high ball is crucial during the all-important November, February and March periods.

Tom Williams can be the man to bring that experience, as well as being effective in attack, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him turned to during these months to add a calm head to our back play when the season is often decided.

For now he may have to make do with turning out for Cardiff Blues A in the Celtic Cup, but if he carries through his pre-season form he will no doubt catch the eye of John Mulvihill and his coaching team.

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