Former RPA Player Representative and Harlequins winger, Tom Williams, confirmed he will retire from full-time rugby at the end of the current season.
The club is excited to confirm that Williams will join the Harlequins coaching set up to help develop the exciting up and coming talent within the Academy.
Commenting on the news, Williams said: “After 13 years and over 200 games for the Club, it is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that my playing time with Harlequins is over. I have had the incredible fortune to have played alongside some unbelievably talented players and to be able to call so many of them my friends is humbling.
“From my debut until my last game I can’t express the excitement and pride I have felt every time I have pulled on the Harlequins jersey. For me, running onto the pitch at The Stoop in front of a full house is the thing I will miss the most.
“It says something about a club when players want to stay for their whole careers and I am so indebted for all the support I have received from the players, coaches, staff and supporters that has allowed me to do this.
“Time and injury have caught up with me over the last two years and whilst I may have one or two regrets, I can look back on my career with Harlequins with immense pride. Winning the Premiership final and Nick Evans’ late, late drop goal against Stade Français are two of many memories that I will hold on to and treasure forever.
“Fortunately, I have been afforded an opportunity to influence the next generation of Quins players by being offered a role within the coaching staff. I am thrilled about the chance to keep working with all the players and staff at the Club in the next chapter of my career and I really can’t wait to get started.”
Williams, 31, is aone of the most experienced and respected members of the Harlequins squad having made over 200 appearances in his 13 years solely with Harlequins.
The one-club man was one of the first graduates from the Academy set up and played a meteoric role in Harlequins’ rise from relegation in 2005 to European, Aviva Premiership and LV= Cup winning titles in recent years.
Tom, who represented England 7s in 2004 and won the Hong Kong leg of the World Series, is credited with having one of the most powerful rugby brains, with a keen eye for crossing the whitewash.
Having scored over 60 tries for the Club, his most memorable came in the opening minutes of the victorious 2012 Aviva Premiership Final and the winger backed this up a year later by scoring in the LV= Cup final victory over Sale Sharks.
Off the field Tom has used his valuable experience to mentor some of the Club’s most promising rising talents. The Club therefore is delighted to welcome Tom within the coaching setup for the coming seasons.
Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea added: “Tom is remaining proof that rugby doesn’t have to be about size; he has one of the best rugby brains there is. His ability to know where to stand in defence and his lines of running in attack remain an on pitch rugby education to anyone.
“He has given some great memories to this Club over an incredible career. For me the moment that stands out is not him scoring tries in our Aviva Premiership or LV= Cup final victories – it is of a chase and tackle from a kick-off in Toulouse which led to a turnover. It was a momentum shifting moment in our win over Toulouse a few seasons back.
“That moment typified Tom to me. He will be missed as a player but I know with his rugby intellect a fabulous coaching career awaits and we look forward to watching him take those first steps at his one and only club.”
Date of Birth: 12/10/1983
Weight: 84 KG
Harlequins Appearances: 214
Career tries: 65