Liam Williams rounds the pitch invader on the ground at the Principality Stadium. Pic: Getty Images.

Liam Williams: If I’d Hit The Pitch Invader, He Would Have Come Off A Lot Worse

By Graham Thomas

Liam Williams doesn’t know if the infamous pitch invader cost Wales victory over South Africa – but he reckons he knows who would have come off worse had they collided.

The Wales full-back had to check his stride and wheel around a man wrestled to the ground by two stewards late on during last week’s clash in Cardiff.

“It’s just not on, especially in the middle of a game,” says Williams, reflecting on the embarrassing security lapse at the Principality Stadium.

“It’s for his safety, more than ours. Because if we hit him, he’s the one who is going to be hurt.”

It was 15-15 when Callum Rowe ran onto the field as Wales were attacking, an incident that shocked a nation, provoked fans to shower him in beer, and led to a lifetime stadium ban.

It was the second successive game in which a fan had got onto the field, meaning the Welsh Rugby Union as well as Wales’ players could be forgiven for feeling a little uneasy before Sunday’s clash against Fiji.

Williams, in his first match back following an appendix operation, admits he will never know if he might have scored in the left-hand corner.

But it certainly punctured his team’s momentum as the world champion Springboks were able to withstand the attack before going on to claim a 23-18 victory.

“There are people around the pitch to make it secure for us to play on,” adds Williams.


“It’s not acceptable for fans to come on the pitch during a game to be honest. It’s happened a couple of times now and we don’t want to see it happen again. On the pitch you don’t think of those things.

“There was not much I could do about it. He just ran on to the pitch.

“I did actually see him in my eyeline because I was looking in front of me.

“I was going to go on a short line off Johnny McNicholl but as I looked up, he was on the floor as part of three people rolling around.

“I had to change my running line and didn’t make it to the try line.

“I’ve seen the aerial photo and South Africa have got a couple of guys coming across. Would I have scored? You can never say yes because it didn’t happen.

“Yes and no – I’m going to sit on the fence on that one. But he did cost me a try bonus!”

It is to Williams’ credit that he can see a funny side to an incident that left no-one smiling at the time.

But then he was grateful to get back on the field at all this autumn after being left in agony when he developed appendicitis in September and was rushed into surgery.

“I was pretty much in the house for two weeks going from my bed to the sofa and back again in agony. The pain was incredible.”

Liam Williams in action for the Lions against South Africa. Pic: Getty Images.

After defeats to the All Blacks and the Springboks, Fiji can bring their own form of agony if Wales allow them to play.

Lions star Williams reckons that won’t happened and adds: “We need to get back to winning ways and hopefully a win will get is in a good place for Australia next weekend.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s by one point or 101 points.

“They (Fiji) are always a very dangerous team. You never know what they are going to do, what they are going to throw at you or what off-loads they are going to do.”

Williams lines up in a Wales side led by flanker Ellis Jenkins, with wing Josh Adams moved to outside centre and a likely Test debut off the bench for 19-year-old Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza.

Jenkins will pack down against Fiji in the same back row as fellow openside flankers Thomas Young and Taine Basham.

“We feed off each other,” said Jenkins.

“Lots of flankers are multiskilled and can play across the back row and the numbers don’t mean a whole amount, particularly for us three on the weekend. We’re all doing a bit of everything.


“Any back rower has to be good at most things. Most players will have one thing that stands them out compared to the rest, but you have to be efficient across the board.

“A lot has been made about the three opensides and lack of size or whatever.

“Hopefully we’ll bring different strengths into it that will suit our game.”

WillGriff John will start for Wales as a late change, having made his debut from the replacements bench last week.

Tight-head prop Tomas Francis had to withdraw from the matchday squad due to a concussion suffered during training on Friday.

Dillon Lewis, who featured against New Zealand in the opening encounter, comes on to the bench.

Wales: L Williams; Cuthbert, Adams, J Williams, Rees-Zammit; Biggar, Hardy; Carre, Elias, John, Rowlands, Beard, Jenkins (capt), Young, Basham.

Replacements: Roberts, Thomas, D Lewis, Tshiunza, S Davies, T Williams, Sheedy, Tompkins.

Fiji: Tuicuvu; Tuisova, Nayacalevu (capt), Botitu, Sau; Volavola, Lomani; Ravia, Matavesi, Doge, Ratuniyarawa, Mayanavanua, Tuisue, Kunavula, Mata.

Replacements: Togiatama, Mawi, Atalifo, Ratuva, Dakuwaqa, Matawalu, Naqalevu, Tuimaba.

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