What’s happened to the ‘little cannonball’ once compared to Scott Gibbs and rated as the best young player in Welsh rugby

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Call off the search party — Keiran Williams is alive and well and living in south-west Wales.

Eye-witness sightings of this mystery man in Merthyr last Saturday afternoon suggest he occasionally travels.

What to make of it all?

Williams appeared as a replacement for Swansea against Merthyr in an Indigo Welsh Premiership encounter at The Wern. It was only for 28 minutes, but, still, it was Williams’ first rugby in seven months. There were no reports of him shoving policemen out of the way in his eagerness to get on the field again, but the assumption is he would have been desperately keen to resume.

His career, after all, has been jolted by injuries and illness.

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Rewind to 2020 and pushing into 2021 and he was felt to be one of Welsh rugby’s upwardly mobile players. He had already starred for Wales U20s and in 2017 he’d followed Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau and Tomos Williams by winning the Welsh Premiership’s Newcomer of the Year award.

The Ospreys called him their little cannonball as he fairly exploded into defensive lines. His directness and low centre of gravity meant there were comparisons with Scott Gibbs to such an extent that in training team-mates started calling him Gibbsy.

Praise came in from all around. Tom Shanklin said of him: “He’s a nugget of a 12, he wants to carry, he wants to hit hard lines, he has pace and he’s deceptively strong. He’s not a big bloke, but he’s really stocky. He’s the kind of size Gordon D’Arcy was, a difficult man to put down.”

Shane Williams and Sean Holley were among others who enjoyed what Williams offered.

Doubtless, all would have seen the youngster play against Racing 92 in France in the Heineken Champions Cup. He and Tiann Thomas-Wheeler were up against Virimi Vakatawa and Henry Chavancy that night, internationals both. The French duo might not have expected too much from the k

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