Highlander Williams wants Crusaders fullback spot



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It has been a rotten season for the Highlanders, but amidst the gloom there have been some bright spots for fullback Paul Williams.

Williams was not wanted by the Crusaders this year after he played for Canterbury, Williams was drafted to the Highlanders squad along with Fetu’u Vainikolo and Jimmy Cowan and the trio have been the pick of the southerners’ backs.

Williams will start on the wing against the Crusaders at AMI Stadium on Saturday night and he has produced his sharpest form in the No 15 jersey when given the chance to start there.

Coach Glenn Moore has got plenty of mileage out of the 25-year-old, starting him in every match.

“I have appreciated the chance to get that continuity in game-time and prefer it at fullback where I enjoy running the ball and counter-attacking chances.” he told The Press.

It will be as fullback that Williams will hope to represent Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup laster this year and he will soon return to Christchurch.

If his form continues, Williams, who is negotiating a contract extension beyond this season with the New Zealand Rugby Union, will aim to snare a spot on the Crusaders roster next year.

With outside back Caleb Ralph off to Japan, there will be at least one vacancy to fill.

Williams admitted it has been frustrating for the Highlanders, who managed only two wins this season.

“It’s certainly been difficult because you play for the wins and if you don’t get that result it can be challenging.

“It means you have to be hard on yourself.”

After badly breaking his leg representing the Highlanders in 2002, Williams missed the next three seasons.

“Certainly I’m feeling the most comfortable I have been since coming back from injury.”

Although the Highlanders were pretty much ruled out of being a contender for the Semi-finals in the middle of the season Williams said having a squad peppered with rookies meant there was still an incentive to perform.

“There’s that chance to measure themselves against some of these other players.”



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