Teddy Williams is relishing the opportunity to learn from experienced Cardiff Blues team-mates as he makes the step-up to train alongside the senior squad on a full-time basis.
The lock made his debut for Wales under-20 last season, and has been promoted to the Cardiff Blues academy, alongside fellow Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf alumni, Max Llewellyn and Ioan Davies.
Williams is excited at the prospect of developing as a player with Wales’ Capital Region, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of father, Owain, who was a firm favourite at the Arms Park during the 1990s.
“It’s been good so far and I’m really enjoying the experience. It’s a big step-up from what I’m used to but I see it as an opportunity to learn from the boys around me and get better as a result.
“Boys are coming into the academy system at an earlier age and it’s a good opportunity for us to train alongside senior and experienced players, including internationals, which is a good chance to develop.
“It’s about spending time with these players like Nick Williams, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi and learn as much as you can from them because they’ve been there and done it at the highest level.
“Hopefully I can get some senior rugby minutes under my belt with the upcoming A team fixtures. I was involved at times last season, and having senior players around the group was really beneficial.
“It was my first chance to train with the senior members so I thought it was a great experience on a personal level.
“After the Celtic Cup I can hopefully look to get some more game-time with Cardiff RFC in the Indigo Group Premiership, and I’ll also be looking to force myself into the under-20 side again.
“I’ve never played for Cardiff before, but my father has played for the Blue and Blacks so it would be a proud moment for myself and my family and hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”
Williams heads into the new campaign on the back of a successful World Rugby U20 Championship, where Gareth Williams’ side secured a sixth placed finish and racked up impressive victories over the likes of New Zealand, Fiji and hosts Argentina.
The Cardiff Blues academy product hopes the experience will stand him in good stead for further age grade honours.
Williams added: “It was a good experience to be involved with the World Cup, but it was a disappointing end to pick up an injury which meant I didn’t get as much game-time as I had hoped.
“The experience was a bit hectic at times, as I had to sit my exams during the tournament which was different.
“I’ll be eligible for the under-20m side again next year, and the experience of being around the group can give me confidence if I’m picked, and I’ll feel comfortable heading into the games.
“There’s a good set-up down at Glantaf at the moment, and the way they play rugby really allows the individuals to develop and we’ve had a good team there over the last few years.
“We’ve seen Max Llewellyn and Ioan Davies involved with the Cardiff Blues academy and Wales under-20 as well this year, without forgetting someone like Seb Davies who has been a full international. There’s a good set-up there.”