Retired WRU and Cardiff Blues player turned business consultant, Rhys ‘Lightning’ Williams admits failing to secure a business deal close to home. “Last year I offered my sister a bit of money to help me with the garden but it hasn’t happened yet. She is really keen on flowers and all that stuff; if I said I was good at gardening, I’d be lying. I cut the grass and every year my father and I spend a whole day cutting back hedges and trees but that’s about it. I’m lucky that I inherited some really nice big Acers and Yuccas in the front garden when I bought the house but I don’t know what a lot of the stuff out the back is. I’d like the garden to be nice, I love having BBQ’s and people over in the summer but I don’t put in enough time. I grow herbs on the balcony because I like cooking and I’d like to grow my own veg when I’m older but at the moment it’s only the birds that I feed,” he laughs adding, “and I’m not sure that’s politically correct as I also have two cats who wait under the bird feeder. The birds are quicker than them though and have dodged them so far.”
Despite retiring in 2009 after shearing two pieces of cartilage from his femoral bone, Rhys still likes to exercise and loves being outdoors. “My knee is still painful but I just manage the pain these days. I’ve tried running but it wasn’t the best and I have managed to ski a bit. That was great, as I had to stop ski-ing when I was playing rugby, ironically in case I got injured. I like to keep fit but it’s harder without having a specific goal to train for. I did the Survival of the Fittest Challenge in Cardiff last summer and a duathlon with my brother-in-law. I still love playing golf and I love cricket, so the summer season’s always good fun. I have always loved being outdoors and it seems strange going to work in an office these days, though I don’t miss the cold and the rain,” he adds.
As well as providing a consultancy service for a couple of businesses in Cardiff and contributing to numerous Charity functions, Rhys is also President of the Welsh Rugby Players Association. “We deal with player welfare issues for professional players and it keeps me involved with the game and the boys. I have actually missed rugby more this season than I did last, I don’t know why. When I retired I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing; I am self motivated, you have to be to play rugby, there’s a lot of pressure to perform well. I was lucky but I worked hard too.”
And surprisingly, apart from missing the day to day banter with the other players, one of the things Rhys misses most about his successful rugby career, is the pain. “It’s a bitter sweet pain; I miss those Sunday mornings when you are as stiff as a board and can hardly move but at least you knew that you’d earned your bread and butter.”