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09th Jan 2021

“We’ll start playing touch, shall we?” – Liam Williams’ angry red card reaction

Patrick McCarry

Liam Williams

Turning 30 in a few months’ time, the Wales and Lions star is not likely to change his abrasive ways.

Liam Williams put his Scarlets team in a deep hole, at Cardiff City Stadium, and they never managed to get themselves out of it.

Scarlets were trailing Cardiff Blues 18-10 after the hosts scored two cracking first half tries, the second of which was a sublime combination between Tomos Williams and Rey Lee-Lo.

What was looking like a molehill for Scarlets to overcome soon became a mountain when Williams received his marching orders for a reckless clear-out on Blues flanker Shane Lewis-Hughes at the breakdown.

The contact looked innocuous at full speed but TV, and TMO, replays showed Williams leading with the head and making direct contact with the head of Lewis-Hughes. Referee Craig Evans felt he was left with no option but to show the Scarlets winger a red card.

Williams, then, did not help his case by arguing the call with the ref. “We’ll start playing touch, shall we?” he sarcastically asked.

This was the third red card Williams received in his Scarlets career, which was broken up by a stint at Saracens. It is the second time he has been sent off in a Welsh derby against Cardiff.

Earlier this season, Leinster and Ireland winger James Lowe spoke about his history of run-ins with Williams on House of Rugby Ireland.

“Yeah, It’s always been like that,” said Lowe.

“I don’t know what his problem is with me… He pushed me in the back again. The only time he’s actually being physical with me is when my back is turned. We actually had a set move and it was just fortunate that he was on my side, and I had him in front of me. I could have gone left or right, but I really wanted to go at him.”

Liam Williams has always been an all-action player, who backs up his on-field talk with matchwinning and game-changing actions. He had some real moments of quality during his time at Saracens, including a try-saving tackle on Garry Ringrose in the 2019 Champions Cup final, and he impressed during the 2017 Lions Tour to New Zealand.

He has also ruffled many a feather during his club and Test career, clashing with the likes of Andrew Trimble, Paddy Jackson, James Haskell and Gordon D’Arcy over the past decade.