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A scrumhalf on the brink of greatness

Strictly come dancing with Grant Williams 🕺🏉#FearTheFin

Meet the Springboks: For a guy who had the ball in his hands for no more than a minute or two this year, Grant Williams certainly made a spectacular impact.

Grant Williams took over as scrumhalf from Faf de Klerk with only a few minutes left to play — but his impact was immediate.

That break from his own five-yard line will be seen in showreels around the world for decades. Only a desperate ankle tap from Finn Russell stopped him from scoring a great try.

But that kind of break is not new for Williams. His speed and stepping have often seen him slipping through one despairing tackle after another on his way to the tryline.

He made his international debut off the bench in a 12-13 loss for the Springboks against Wales in Bloemfontein in 2022.

Williams did not have an easy path into professional rugby and he credits his family and community for keeping him focused.

“There were stones and rocks ahead of me, but I had to work through them. I have to thank my family and the people from Paarl. They know my journey, and when things did not go too well, they supported me,” Williams previously said.

His first test start was supposed to be his big moment to make a statement.

Instead, he was on the field for all of 10 seconds when Argentina’s Juan Cruz Mallia tackled him in the air from the kick-off. Mallia was suspended, and Williams left the field on a stretcher.

Williams talks about Paarl being a great breeding ground for rugby players and he is not wrong.

Fellow Springboks at the World Cup Kurt-Lee Arendse, Grant Williams and Canan Moodie are all from that jewel of the Cape Winelands.

Arendse and Williams were at Paulus Joubert Primary School together. The late Chester Williams also came from Paarl.

Grant’s journey to the international level took longer than most because he wasn’t scouted after he played for Paarl Gymnasium. He played club rugby for three years in Durban, before he was recruited by the Sharks.

Having made his Test debut in 2021, Williams, at 27, is no longer a youngster, but he is on the brink of a Springbok career that promises to be legendary. He may just emerge as a star of the 2023 World Cup.

Pictured above: Grant Williams

Image source: SA Rugby