ENGLAND Counties forward Dan Williams says he will have to work hard to force his way into Plymouth Albion’s starting line-up.
Williams has returned to Albion this summer after a two-year gap following spells with Newton Abbot and Torquay.
The 27-year-old former Gloucester and London Welsh player is currently one of 10 players fighting for a second or back-row place in Plymouth’s squad for the 2016/17 National One campaign and that figure could yet increase.
Albion have re-signed four of their regular starting back five forwards from last season – Dan Collier, Ed Holmes, Nile Dacres and Herbie Stupple. Fit-again Dave Fisher and Cameron Thompson have also penned new deals, while Williams joins George Mills, Rupert Cooper and Todd Prisk in arriving at Brickfields.
“There are a lot of players,” said Williams, who impressed for Devon and England Counties in May and June.
“I wasn’t expecting to play much for Devon and England Counties, but I did. I’ve just got to keep my head down and work hard and just see what Dan Parkes decides.
“If I work as hard as I know I can and get back into some decent shape, then hopefully I can get in the team a bit and contribute to the season.”
He added: “Obviously they were successful last year as a pack and as a team, so that puts pressure on us new guys to come in and work even harder to try and shift those guys out of those positions. They have earned the shirts, so we have to work harder to get them out of them.”
Williams, who is comfortable in both the second or back-row, is pleased to be back at Albion, having re-found his desire to play at a high level.
“It is nice to get back into the full swing of things,” said the former Ivybridge Community College pupil.
“Last year I was not even going to play rugby but got an opportunity to be player-coach at Torquay, which I took on with my boss at work, and we had a pretty successful season.
“I then got into the Devon squad, which I did not expect at all, and then on the England Counties tour. I just expected to go on tour, I did not expect to play much.
“It’s just gone from there really quite quickly. I’ve jumped back up four leagues. It’s a bit above where I was last year.”
Williams made 12 league and cup appearances for Albion during the 2013/14 season, but his campaign was hampered by a serious shoulder injury.
He was offered a new contract but opted to join Newton Abbot and get a career outside rugby.
“I got a shoulder injury but did get an offer to stay,” said Williams. “However, I’d just had my lad. He was only a couple of months old and it was only a one year deal. I just needed something a bit more stable for family life.
“I just said I can’t be chasing contracts all over the country or all over the world and moving my lad around, so I got a job in Newton Abbot and I’ve been there and Torquay.
“I have kept the job and with Albion being part-time I am managing to make it work at the minute.”