Wales’ forgotten centre is back and he looks like he’s still got it after all he’s been through

Scott Williams hasn’t had much to smile about on the rugby front over the last couple of years, but right now he’s a happy man.

The 58-times capped centre was plagued by injuries during his time with the Ospreys, where he was restricted to just 27 appearances in three seasons.

Those fitness issues saw him slip out of the international reckoning, with his last outing for Wales coming more than two years ago.

It also culminated in him being released by the Ospreys, leaving him facing an uncertain future.

But now the man who will always be remembered for the try against England at Twickenham which clinched the 2012 Triple Crown is back.

He has rejoined the Scarlets, where he first made his name, and looks to have put his injury issues behind him, based on his classy cameo in Thursday night’s victory over Leicester at Welford Road.

A real Rolls Royce of a centre, Williams could prove to be one of the signings of the season if he can remain injury-free.

It’s hard to believe it, given he’s been on the scene for so long, but he’s still only 30 and there could be much more to come from him yet, with his range of passing and his ability to make an outside break making him a rare midfield asset.

When he came on as a 47th minute replacement for the first game of his second spell with the Scarlets, they were trailing the Tigers 17-8.

But he went on to play his part as they came from behind to win 29-24, with Dwayne Peel’s team running in three second-half tries as they put on the style to turn the game on its head.

Head coach Peel picked the rejuvenated Williams out for special praise after the match.

“I was really pleased to get Scott on the park,” he said.

“It’s been a long road for him. He’s been dogged with injuries over the last couple of years. He’s had a back problem and a scapula injury as well. Then, at the start of this pre-season, he had a bit of a tweak on his calf.

“But he’s worked his backside off to get back on the field for us in this game.

“That was his target and he’s worked really hard to get there.

“I am just pleased to have him back on the field.

“He was delighted after the game to have completed that, so I am really pleased for him.”

A further plus for the Scarlets was the return to action of Williams’ long-time centre partner Jonathan Davies following his stint as Wales captain over the summer.

“Those two boys bring a wealth of experience and a wealth of leadership and are an important part of our group,” said Peel.

“They have led well over the course of the last couple of weeks. It’s been good.”

Pick your greatest ever Wales XV now

Things looked grim for the Scarlets when they conceded a try straight after the sin-binning of lock Tom Price early in the second-half to trail by 11 points.

But two tries in the space of three minutes from Steff Evans and Steff Hughes – following breaks from Johnny McNicholl and Kieran Hardy respectively – put them back in the game, with winger Ryan Conbeer going over late on, after some great hands, to seal the spoils in a fluctuating encounter.

“I was pleased for the boys,” said Peel.

“We managed to stay in the game, which shows good character, and we saw some of the things we have been working on over the last few weeks.

“We are trying to build style. We’ve been away for four days in north Wales and played last Saturday, so it’s been a short turnaround.

“We had a good time in the north Wales camp. They worked really hard there.

“So the energy they showed, on the back of that, was good from my point of view.

“It was 17-8 at one point and we managed to get ourselves back in the game and score some nice tries.

“It was a fractured game in many respects, with some good, some poor stuff and that’s what you expect this time of year.

“There’s a lot to work on is the honest truth.

“But I am pleased.”

The buoyant Scarlets will open their United Rugby Championship campaign against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday, September 25.

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