Kiwi Nick Williams is known for being one of the hardest men in Welsh rugby but was reduced to tears this week after receiving a very special Christmas gift from Cardiff Blues.
The present was a surprise visit from his mother, Aolele, who the Blues paid for to come over from New Zealand to watch him in action in the UK for the first time over the holiday period.
Back rower Williams was already wiping a tear from his eye when a video message from his mum was shown in the team room in front of all the players.
But then he was called up by coach John Mulvihill to receive a gift, only to be turned round to see his mother walking into the room.
Father of three Williams broke down in tears as he hugged his mum, while there was hardly a dry eye in the house at the emotional reunion.
Explaining how the visit came about, Blues boss Mulvihill told WalesOnline: “I spoke to Nick a while back and we talked about his mum.
“He said she had never seen him play rugby in the UK and he’s been here 12 years.
“So we talked about it as a coaching group and a management staff and came up with the idea of let’s bring her over.
“We organised that a few weeks ago with help from Nick’s wife Gemma. I also spoke to his brother Tim Nanai-Williams, who is over in France with Clermont, and they got it organised.
“We went to pick her up at the airport at 5am this morning,” Mulvihill told WalesOnline.
“Then we played the video message which Nick’s mum had done for him and you could see he had a few tears.
“I said ‘Mate, she has sent you a gift and you need to come and get it’ and I had something that was wrapped up.
“He walked up to me and gave me a hug and I said ‘Mate, this isn’t your gift, here’s your gift, here’s mum behind you’.
“It was fantastic. It was a really, really touching moment and it’s something the boys in that room will remember forever.
“I had to keep it together at the front. There were a lot of boys with heads down and shirts over their faces. But that’s good, that’s what we are about.
“That’s the importance of family within our group. Nick is someone who is the cultural, spiritual leader for us on and off the field.
“We just thought if we could do something special to make him feel good about himself and the family at this time of the year, it would be great for everyone.
“He struggled for a little bit. He finally got his words out and he was really thankful for everyone.”
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