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LV= Breakthrough Player round four: Owen Williams & Dan Baker

28 February 2014

  • Owen Williams and Dan Baker up for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award
  • Voting open at www.lv.com/rugby
Owen Williams

Photo: Getty Images

With a pair of British & Irish Lions to surpass there may be limited opportunities for young Welsh centres – but Lewis Moody expects LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year nominee Owen Williams to be banging the door down.

Williams particularly impressed in Cardiff Blues’ round-four demolition of Harlequins in this year’s LV= Cup, with seven carries making him more than 100 metres during the match.

He is one of a new crop of Welsh centres, alongside the likes of Ospreys’ Ashley Beck, and has four international caps to his name already.

However, with his namesake Scott and Lions Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies occupying the roles it will take some doing to work his way into the first-team reckoning.

But Moody believes the 22-year-old’s early promise suggests he is set for a big future – for both club and country.

“I think that might be a big step for Cardiff to keep hold of him for the future. He’s obviously key to their plans going forward,” said Moody.

“At his age, to be breaking into the Welsh national team is big . He‘s obviously been impressing the right people. It’s all about taking those chances when they come.

“He’s another guy who is evidently a talent and Wales need to find as many young players as they can.

“With four caps he’s pretty much the old man of these nominees. At 22 he’s certainly the most experienced and he is obviously a talented player.”

Williams is one of ten 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominees with the winner to be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park on March 16 and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of the winner's choice.

And he is not the only Welsh representative amongst the list, with Ospreys No.8 Dan Baker also shining in round four to pick up a nomination.

As the Welsh region beat Sale Sharks, Baker beat nine defenders and completed 14 carries, leaving Moody impressed.

“As a No.8 he’s been leading the charge, getting his hands on the ball again like all the best back-row boys. He’s happy to do that,” said Moody.

“He’s a strong, powerful lad and the Ospreys have used him well in attack, getting him to get his hands on the ball and getting his into the opposition.

“You want to see your number eight getting stuck into the nines, into the tens, and he’s been doing that.

“He’s a young man with a future and the Welsh regions need to bring these young guys through, so it’s good to see Dan sticking his hand up and earn his nomination.”

The LV=Cup, watch the next generation break through. For more information on the LV= Breakthrough Player Award and voting, visit www.LV.com/rugby