ON-LOAN winger Rhys Williams has revealed how he climbed off his sick bed to star for Castleford Tigers in their thriller against Warrington Wolves two days ago.
Cas were beaten 40-26, after staging a storming fightback from 34-0 down 10 minutes into the second half.
It was a big game for Williams, who scored a length-of-the-field try to take his tally for Tigers to five in six appearances since joining on a temporary basis from Warrington two months ago.
And he confirmed that he had come close to missing the match-up with his parent club due to illness.
“I had a bit of an upside-down week,” the Welsh international recalled. “I got an infection at the start of the week and it really knocked me for six.
“I was bedridden for two days and didn’t eat and didn’t sleep. I struggled, but I managed to play and get through the game, which was more than I thought I would do.”
Coach Ian Millward blamed Williams’ illness on Widnes Vikings’ artificial pitch, claiming grazes suffered during that game had become infected.
The player said: “I did get cuts and grazes from the Widnes game. It is a while since we played and it’s not for me to say whether it was or wasn’t, but it was a bad infection.”
Hot, sapping conditions on Sunday made Williams’ performance all the more impressive. He admitted: “I went a bit jelly-legged early on.
“It was a tough performance. We didn’t take our chances and Warrington did in the first half. To be 30-0 down was tough, but we showed a lot of resilience to come back.
“We thought we could turn the screw on them when it was 34-26, but Warrington showed how clinical they are to score in the last minute. They showed that they can score at any opportunity.”
Tigers have two players on loan from Warrington and they both scored, Lee Mitchell twisting over for the hosts’ fifth and final touchdown late in the second period.
“There was a bit of extra motivation, I guess,” Williams said. “But regardless of who I am playing against, I go out in every game to play as well as I can.
“Next week against Wigan I will be trying to put in a similar performance.”
Williams feels he is getting what he needs and wants from his time at Tigers.
“Obviously it was tough at Warrington,” he said. “You play here and there. To get here, get some game time and play back to back matches is great.
“I am enjoying my rugby. Playing against Warrington was a little strange, it felt like it was training, but I enjoyed it and I am enjoying my time at Castleford.”
After facing Super League’s second-placed side two days ago, things won’t get any easier for Tigers this week with Millward’s men travelling to leaders Wigan Warriors on Friday night.
Williams said: “That’s what I am here for, to play in games against the top teams and then back up the week after.
“I thought at times on Sunday if we had taken our chances we could have been in the game.
“There are things we need to learn and hopefully we can do so this week.”
Millward has been impressed with Williams’ contribution so far, particularly against Warrington.
Said the coach: “It was a good performance. He wasn’t going to play up until the day of the game.
“He was very brave. With Brett Ferres leaving we drafted him back into the team and he played extremely well, a good winger’s performance.”
Millward was also pleased with his new-look half-back partnership of Rangi Chase and Jamie Ellis.
He said: “In the first half at times they lacked a bit of communication and cohesion, but in the second half they did very well.
“Unfortunately Jamie got injured, he got a corked thigh. It is a work in progress, but I can see some good signs of them complementing each other.”