Owen Williams has reflected on his “rollercoaster” season after helping Wales to Six Nations victory in Italy.
Fly-half Williams became unemployed when Worcester went into administration in September 2022.
He signed for Ospreys three months later and impressive performances saw him receive an international recall.
“If you’d told me a couple of months ago I’d be playing for Wales in the Six Nations, I would have laughed at you,” said Williams.
“I am just pleased with the way things have gone over the last three or four months.”
Williams, 31, signed for Worcester for the start of the 2021-22 season from Japanese side Red Hurricanes but found himself out of a job when the English club went into administration.
He was recovering from a broken thumb at the time and also preparing for the birth of his first son with wife Hannah.
His home region, Ospreys, came calling when he was signed as injury cover for Gareth Anscombe and Stephen Myler.
After helping Ospreys into the Heineken Champions Cup last 16, Williams was recalled by returning Wales coach Warren Gatland for the 2023 Six Nations campaign.
He made his first Wales appearance for more than five years as a replacement against Ireland.
Williams was then handed his first international start at fly-half against England and retained that shirt in the 29-17 win over Italy.
“The last six months has been a rollercoaster,” said Williams.
“There’s a lot gone on in my personal life as well. I’ve had a baby, my first one, and with what happened at Worcester and getting injured.
“I was rehabbing on my own for two months with the help of some of the Worcester [strength and conditioning staff] and physios.
“We had a little one on the way as well, so there were about three months when it was really stressful.
“We managed to get through it and we’ve got a healthy baby boy and I’ve got a job, so that’s the main thing.
“The Ospreys threw me a lifeline. They gave me an opportunity and it went well for a couple of months, which probably put me in the shop window.
“I’m grateful for that opportunity and it’s just week to week at the moment. I’m enjoying it and happy I’ve got a job.”
Williams’ Six Nations involvement means he has doubled his tally of international appearances, having played three Tests in 2017.
He was called up by Wales for the 2020 Six Nations match against Ireland, when he was named as a replacement before being forced to withdraw after getting injured in the warm-up.
Williams had became ineligible for Wales under the old 60-cap rule after joining the Osaka-based Hurricanes at the end of the 2019-20 season from Gloucester, where he had spent two seasons following four years with Leicester.
When Williams returned from Japan, he linked up with Worcester and made his debut against London Irish in the opening match of the 2021-22 season.
He tore a hamstring two weeks later which resulted in a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Nobody could have predicted what would happen to Worcester in the following season.
“It was just me and my wife who went to Japan,” added Williams.
“It was in Covid times so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try something different.
“We came back and living in Cheltenham, Worcester came knocking and they were putting a good squad together at the time.
“What happened at Worcester is really sad and lots of people have been affected by it.
“You probably sometimes take things a little bit for granted and it probably gave me a kick up the backside.
“There are still lots of good players who were in that team who don’t have jobs now, so it makes me grateful to the Ospreys for giving me an opportunity as well.”
Williams was joined in the starting side in Rome by Ospreys half-back partner Rhys Webb, who produced a player-of-the-match performance.
Williams is hoping to hold off the challenge of the fit-again Dan Biggar and be chosen to start next Saturday against France at fly-half, a position where he wants to stay after playing for Wales at centre in 2017.
“Rhys and I have got on well over the last couple of months at the Ospreys and managed to put a few games together,” said Williams.
“I am enjoying playing 10, I think that’s where my position is, but will play anywhere for Wales.”
‘We have nothing to lose’
France have hopes of winning the Six Nations title after a record-breaking 53-10 win against England at Twickenham.
Williams believes Wales, who are training in Nice ahead of the match in Paris, should embrace playing Fabien Galthie’s side.
“They’re a very good team,” added Williams.
“They’ve got everything to play for and we’ve got nothing to lose. We’ll look forward to that challenge.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good training week in Nice and then we’ll throw everything at it.”
Source – BBC Sport