A massively proportioned number eight with a penchant of scoring tries, Cardiff Blues' Nick Williams has announced his retirement from the game following a 16-year professional career.
1⃣6⃣7⃣ #GuinnessPRO14 appearances— PRO14 RUGBY (at 🏡) (@PRO14Official) August 5, 2020
4⃣ Teams @Munsterrugby #AironiRugby @UlsterRugby @cardiff_blues
1⃣ Massive ❤️
👏Thank you for every carry, tackle, roar and smile @nick8williams you are an icon of @PRO14Official https://t.co/ErkUrhUVAE
— Nick Williams (@nick8williams) August 5, 2020
The talismanic number eight hangs up his giant boots following four seasons at the Arms Park, where he has earned cult hero status. During that time Williams has made 77 appearances, scored 13 tries and played an inspirational role in the 2018 European Challenge Cup success.
Here are five things you probably did not know about the gargantuan 36-year-old:
1. He won Pro12 Player of the Season and IRUPA Players' Player of the Year in his first season in Belfast
Williams' arrival at Ulster in 2012 revitalised his career, winning Pro12 Player of the Season as well as being the only overseas player to be recognised by peers as the IRUPA Players' Player of the Year in his first year.
In his four successful seasons in Belfast, he was renowned for his devastating ball carrying, soft hands and breakdown ability, and went on to make 76 appearances and scored 80 points.
2. He's first cousin of All Blacks World Cup winner, Sonny Bill Williams.
The Kiwi-born's audacious ball-handling skills clearly run in the family as he is cousins to All Black star Sonny Bill, who is regarded as the king of the offload.
Nick’s younger brother, Tim Nanai-Williams, is a gifted Super Rugby-winning utility back.
“I’ve got five sisters and there’s three of us boys and we all play professionally,” Nick has said.
“I think you guys have obviously heard of one of our other family members, Sonny. He’s doing fairly well as well!"
“...The family that we are, we just get behind the bro and give him all the support and applause he deserves.
“Look, we’ve been blessed with a talent at sport, so we might as well make the most of it when we can.”
3. European Challenge Cup winner in 2018
The Auckland native was a European Challenge Cup winner in 2018 during a spell in Wales with Cardiff.
“Winning the European Challenge Cup a couple of years ago is an obvious highlight but I will also just miss the day to day and being with the boys around the place."
4. He's a Junior All Black
Having come to prominence with Super Rugby's the Blues in a spell from 2004-08, it was in that time where he played for both New Zealand Under-21s and won four caps for the Junior All Blacks, scoring 15 points.
5. He's a Non-Executive Director for Bearhug
During his time in Cardiff, Williams also joined local joint support and muscle sleeve business, Bearhug as a Non Executive Director in January 2020.