Williams determined to make most of Warriors opportunity

Worcester News: 18/01/14. Worcester Warriors v Oyonnax, Amlin Challenge Cup, Sixways Stadium, Worcester. MIKE WILLIAMS. Picture by Nick Toogood. (4274614) 18/01/14. Worcester Warriors v Oyonnax, Amlin Challenge Cup, Sixways Stadium, Worcester. MIKE WILLIAMS. Picture by Nick Toogood. (4274614)

FIND-of-the-season Mike Williams is grateful to Warriors for giving him his big chance in England and insists he’ll stand by the club whichever division they are playing in next year.

The Zimbabwe-born, English qualified forward has burst onto the Aviva Premiership scene since arriving from the Blue Bulls in the summer and has already been mentioned as a future England international.

Due to an ancestry visa via his late grandfather on his mother’s side, the 22-year-old would be available immediately for Stuart Lancaster should the situation arise and the power-packed forward is eager to play international rugby for his adopted nation.

And if he continues to produce displays like the momentous shift he put in playing at blindside against Leicester Tigers, that call-up may be closer than people think.

Although Williams was raised in Bulawayo and admits to having been a ‘big fan of the Springboks’, he would have no issues going toe-to-toe with the Springboks wearing the Red Rose of England on his chest.

He said: “Through my mum’s side of the family I was able to get an ancestry visa for four years. After that, I can qualify to become an English citizen, but I can play for the country now and that is every rugby player’s dream.

“You can play for your country straight away on an ancestry visa, I believe that is the case with (Saracens and England centre) Brad Barritt, and that is one of my biggest goals.

“Because I am a pure Zimbabwean, I wouldn’t find it funny if I ever played for England against South Africa, but as I lived there for five years, I was a big fan of the Springboks.

“However, I think there is a big future for me in England and that is my biggest goal – I can see myself playing in the Premiership for a long time.”

Williams signed a two-year deal with Warriors and, despite having made other clubs sit up and take notice, he insists he is going nowhere.

“I have this year and next year with Worcester and I’m settled here, so this is where I’ll be at least until the end of 2015,” he said.

“I feel that big strides going to happen at this club with people like Dean Ryan and Nick Johnston in charge.

“I am not worried about the next year of my contract, whether we are in the Premiership or the Championship. I just want to build as a player and I’m still young.”

Williams was recruited to Worcester by former head coach Richard Hill, who was subsequently sacked by Warriors, which was a concern for the young lock ahead of his move to England.

He explained: “My agent lives in Bath and there was a bit of interest shown from certain clubs and I came over in April to visit Richard, who signed me before Dean took over. I looked around the club and ended up signing my contract before going back.

“When Richard was sacked, it was a worry for me as every coach has a different view on players, but I started afresh coming over here and was always going to do my best to impress whoever was in charge as my first team coach.

“I think I have achieved that this year and I have shown Dean that I want to be part of this club and it looks like he is starting to back me now, which is a positive.”

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