The 2018/19 Championship winning season may prove to be a defining one for London Irish Academy graduate Matt Williams.
The outside back made 12 appearances in Irish colours last season and is now focusing on contributing more to the club in the Gallagher Premiership.
The 21-year-old explained how this season is all about helping the side as best he can. He said “for me, I want to improve as a player throughout this season and contribute as best I can to the team and our goal of being a competitive side in the Premiership.”
With the first block of pre-season training nearing completion, the foundations have been laid for a competitive season as the squad have been put through their paces following a well-deserved rest period following promotion from the Championship.
“Firstly, it was great to enjoy a period of rest at the end of last season; I think the players earned it. It was a long season and we were delighted to achieve the goal of being promoted.
“It is good to be back, it’s been pretty full on, the schedule has been arranged so it is quite individual. At the moment the group I am in is focusing on work rate, and we have been doing quite a bit of conditioning to get us back into the run of things and to make sure we are prepped for the later stages of pre-season and the beginning of the season, in a couple of months’ time.”
Williams will be vying for a starting berth with a host of new and existing players, but is excited by the challenge and knows how good the new additions to the squad will be for London Irish.
“For myself and all the other young players around the club I think we will benefit from having the wealth of experience that is coming into the environment. As you’ve seen, there are world class players signing and to get the best out of this team, Declan has said that we need a mix of youth and experience.
“I’m sure that the boys coming in will really challenge us and push our standards to be higher and that’s what everyone at the club really needs for us to push on.”
Williams is combing his rugby with an Economics degree at Birkbeck College, University of London. Having just completed his second year he is now awaiting his results.
“It is evening study two to three evenings a week and I get my results in the next few weeks, which I’m a bit nervous for, but hopefully they go ok.
“Balancing the two can be tough at times, but for me it is important to do things outside of rugby. It really does help, because when I am studying, it takes my mind off rugby and recharges me, and it is obviously important for careers after sport as well. I enjoy it as it is a good mental stimulus.”
To see Matt and the rest of the players in action next season, click here to see all the information on London Irish Season Tickets.