Former Wales Students international Ian Williams, a cornerstone in three of Oxford University’s record run of six Varsity Match wins, has died at the age of 27 after collapsing in training.
The ex-Swansea University history graduate, who played in the Welsh Varsity Match against Cardiff before heading to Oxford, collapsed while training with English Championship side Doncaster Knights on Tuesday. He could not be resuscitated.
“It is with great sadness that Doncaster RFC announces the passing of prop forward Ian Williams. Ian collapsed at training at Castle Park this morning and, despite the best efforts of the emergency response team, could not be resuscitated,” said a Doncaster Knights club statement.
“Ian joined the Club in summer 2017 from Rotherham Titans and quickly became a well-liked member of the Knights squad, making six appearances for the Club. We are working with a counselling team in the best interest of Ian’s teammates.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to his mother Pippa, father Phillip and sister Helen and are working with a counselling team in the best interest of his team-mates,”
Born in Chichester, Williams went to Sherborne School before attending Swansea University. While he was at university in Wales he played for Bridgend, Swansea and London Welsh.
At 6ft 4in tall, and weighing in at more than 19 stones, he was a talented tight head prop who also enjoyed half a season at RGC 1404 in 2016, helping them to gain promotion to the Principality Premiership.
He won three Blues for Oxford at Twickenham, helping them to beat arch-rivals Cambridge in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He scored a try in the 43-6 triumph in 2014.
In 2016 he moved to Rotherham Titans before joining Doncaster Knights last summer. Oxford University have postponed their scheduled fixture against the Penguins at Iffley Road on Wednesday, 21 February as a mark of respect.