Bristol Bears midfield playmaker James Williams is being scouted by several Welsh United Rugby Championship clubs according to the latest reports.

Williams, 27, joined Bristol Bears in the summer of 2022 from Championship side Hartpury and has been a huge success at the club having established himself as a key midfield pivot in the 12 jersey. His form towards the back end of the 2023/24 season, which coincided with the Bears exploding into life in attack, saw him keep former French superstar Virimi Vakatawa out of the starting side and earned him a new contract at the club. His ability to also step in a play at fly-half and goal kick has made him an invaluable player for the Bears, with director of rugby Pat Lam highlighting his incredibly low error count as a key superstrength.

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Williams, who played for the Barbarians against Samoa last summer under Lam, is in many ways a perfect Bears back, he is a decent strike runner, good distributor and has a strong kicking game – making him a triple threat.

Williams is currently uncapped but qualifies to play for both England, though birth, and Wales, through his mother Yana who ran cross country championships for her country in the 1980s, and he has spoken about his international ambitions. “It is a big desire of mine, although I know that at 27 I am not the youngest,” Williams said. “I had a camp with the Wales Under-20s when I was 19 but was not capped. I never thought I would be where I am now and I love mixing with big names. If I put in the performances, you never know. I am just motivated to play at the highest level I can and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

There was some speculation Williams might even have got a Wales call-up this summer with head coach Warren Gatland rebuilding his side in the first year of the next four-year cycle to the 2027 Rugby World Cup, but that did not materialise. Now RugbyPass are reporting the Welsh regions have their eye on bringing Williams into the fold in part to help facilitate his international career, however he of course could be selected by Gatland while still playing for Bristol in the Gallagher Premiership.

Lam will be keen to keep hold of his centre having unearthed another gem from the Championship and having seen other key midfield options move on this summer.