23 December 2004
Bath Rugby have eased their half back injury worries by signing scrum half Andy Williams who returns to the Recreation Ground on a short term contract until the end of the season.
In recent weeks Bath Rugby have been exposed at scrum half with regular front line players Martyn Wood and Nick Walshe suffering injuries. Wood, who has been capped twice by England, is still recovering from a damaged hamstring and may not play again until mid January, whilst Walshe is finding his way back from an ankle injury suffered during the Heineken Cup victory over Treviso earlier this month. In their absence the club turned to promising Academy player Mike Baxter who has performed well, whilst another Academy player Sam Alford was on the bench for last weekend's Powergen Cup match against NEC Harlequins.
However, given the attrition rate in the backs division so far this season, the club sought a greater degree of experience at the pivotal position of scrum half and have opted for signing Williams on a short-term contract.
"In the challenging environment that is the Zurich Premiership there is a great need for experienced heads on the field and strength in depth within the squad," said the club's Director of Rugby, Jack Rowell. "Whilst Mike Baxter has done well having been elevated to starting scrum half in recent weeks, with Martyn Wood currently sidelined and Nick Walshe making his way back from injury it was imperative that we sought quality cover. Andy Williams fits the bill. He has been playing regular Heineken Cup and Celtic league rugby and he has a great affection for Bath Rugby. We are delighted to be able to welcome him back to the club."
Welshman Andy made his reputation as a youngster at Bath Rugby before heading across the bridge to chase his dreams in Wales with the Neath-Swansea Ospreys Celtic League outfit. He won a cap against Romania in 2003, but has since found it difficult to break into the National side. However, Bath has always held special memories for the 23-year-old who expressed his delight in returning to the club.
"I enjoyed my time in Wales with the Ospreys, but when this opportunity presented itself it was something that I did not really have to think twice about," said Andy. "I am really looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and I feel that I am coming back a better and more experienced player. I am really looking forward to getting into training now."
Andy, who has agreed terms, will be reunited with his old team mates tomorrow and will train with the team in preparation for Monday's sell-out Zurich Premiership clash against Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park (7.45pm).