Ulster talisman, and adopted son, Nick Williams has played his last game for the province.
The business end of the Guinness Pro 12 season is upon us and with two games left in the regular season, focus now is on a top four finish and the chance of winning some silverware. This is the goal for Ulster who seek to hold onto the final play-off spot and face off against Leinster on Friday in a must-win game.
Having already received news that Tommy Bowe is once again unavailable due to a minor knee problem, Les Kiss has been further hit by the news (via The Irish Times) that Nick Williams has failed in his bid to return from a shoulder injury and will now miss the rest of Ulster’s season.
News of Williams’ failure to recover marks the end of an era for both the Kiwi and Ulster, his adopted home. Having already signed for Cardiff Blues for next season, it is now confirmed that Williams has played his final game for the northern province.
Williams arrived on these shores from New Zealand back in 2008 and spent two seasons with Munster. After a further two seasons with Italian side Aironi, Williams returned to Ireland in 2012, signing for Ulster.
It was at Ravenhill that the giant Number 8 made his mark, quickly becoming a fan favourite and an integral part of a resurging Ulster squad. Known for his barrelling runs, Williams was often seen trucking through defensive lines with two or three bewildered opposition players hanging off him. It was this kind of effort and spectacle that saw him win the hearts of Ulster fans.
Williams himself has taken to social media to confirm the news that he has played his last game for Ulster. In a simple and poignant tweet, he is bound to bring even the most hardened Ulster fan to tears.
— Nick Williams (@nick8williams) April 26, 2016
Such is the nature of professional rugby these days, Ulster cannot stop to reminisce about Belfast’s adopted son. With a crunch game against arch-rivals Leinster looming, there is simply no time for sentiment.
Ulster will be hoping to confirm their place in the play-offs on Saturday, where they can compete for one final piece of silverware for their departing talisman.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm in Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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