Tag: Rhys Williams

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: WAKEFIELD V SALFORD

For sheer entertainment value, this Round Seven game had everything anyone could have wished for, with classy, expansive, skilful handling, rampaging hit-ups, tricky defence-splitting running, end-to-end movement, and tries aplenty, all in one afternoon’s worth of Super League.

At first glance, it might appear to have been a game of two halves, with first Trinity, and then the visiting Salford side having total ascendency, in each of the forty-minute periods.  That assumption is certainly supported by the scoreboard, with Wakefield rattling up a 24-4 interval lead, and the Reds winning the second stanza by twenty points to six.

There was more to it than that, however, with Salford, in particular, making some notable impact when Wakefield held the whip hand.  For example, after the home side had taken an eighth-minute, six-point lead, it took the Red Devils a matter of only two minutes’ play,  before they eroded into it, with the first of Rhys Willams’s tries, after deft hands from the ever-impressive, Tim Lafae, and it was only thanks to their successful conversion that Wakefield continued to hold onto the lead.

Indeed, when you look at the number of tries rather than points accrued, it was completely even, with five each, four of which, for both teams, came in just one half.  Unfortunately, with both Salford wingers scoring a brace each, the majority of their scores were out wide, making it far more difficult for kicker, Marc Sneyd, to acquit himself as accurately as he probably would have liked, and, in the end, it was the three missed attempts from the most difficult, which were responsible for the final six-point difference between the sides.

Even after Trinity had opened up a 12-4 lead after fifteen minutes, Salford ripped through their defence, on twenty-six minutes, when Elijah Taylor made a clean break down the left, but was unable to take advantage of his teammates’ support as a Wakefield defender cleverly put himself between them, and the difficult inside pass went adrift.

If there were a period in which Trinity were totally dominant, it was in the final ten minutes of the half, when they doubled their number of points on the board.  It started with a poor Salford chase after a kick into their opponents’ in-goal area, which enabled Wakefield to build up a head of steam, and they promptly went a hundred metres down the field, in only five tackles, to score by the posts.  Winger, Tom Johnstone, then rounded off the half with one of his typical individual tries.

Much as they contributed to the game on attack, unusually, there must have been questions about the visitors’ defence, at times during the half, to be facing a twenty-point deficit.  There had been, nevertheless, a period mid-half, when they had withstood two back-to-back goal-line drop-outs, followed by two back-to-back penalties, all within close proximity to their own line.

Whatever the nature of the discussion during half time, Salford were a team transformed, from the start of the second half.  The immediate pressure they applied led to the initial rewards of two back-to-back goal-line drop-outs, of their own capped with a penalty, and they all added to the Red Devils’ total dominance, which culminated in Deon Cross’s converted try, on forty-seven minutes.

Momentum had swung in Salford’s favour, and they were now in the ascendency, so much so that it took merely seven minutes for the next score, from Ken Sio, such was the new-found confidence they were exuding.  They even went close to adding two further tries, only to be held up, over the line, on both occasions.

Wakefield, on the other hand. were now  confined to almost constant goal-line defence, and it was close to mid-point in the half before they launched an attack on the Salford line.

One aspect of play which the home side did command, however, was the ability to win most of the contested high kicks, though Rhys Williams will have gained considerable satisfaction from plucking the ball from one, short, goal-line drop-out, out of the air, and away from the waiting hands of an opponent to cross, unchallenged, for his second try.

Ken Sio, on the other flank, mirrored his colleague’s scoring rate, though, by the time he had the chance to complete his tally, thirty seconds from time, the Wakefield lead had increased to twelve points, and the victory was theirs.

There was much of which the Red Devils should be proud, however.  The notable improvement in their attacking play was most encouraging, as well as entertaining, and they certainly showed that they do have the clinical skills to turn their chances into points.  With a blank weekend coming up, there is the opportunity to hone these skills further, but also to rediscover their defensive strategy which has done so much to help them, in previous games.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CHALLENGE CUP TIE WIGAN V SALFORD

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CHALLENGE CUP TIE WIGAN V SALFORD

There must have been many a huge sigh of relief across those clubs still to be drawn from the bag, when Salford Red Devils were announced as the visitors to the DW Stadium, in the sixth-round tie, of this year’s Betfred Challenge Cup.  Not for nothing, are Wigan known as The Cup Kings, especially after their decade-long run of winning every final of the late eighties and early nineties.

In fairness, Salford do not have a bad record of recent results in cup ties against the Warriors, including that marvellous victory of 1996, which brought the aforementioned run of victories to its conclusion, with Salford having home advantage in the majority of those games.  This one was different, though, with it being the Red Devils having to do the travelling, and the usually tight, or unexpected, result was never on the cards, at least not judging by the final score.

A twenty-point victory sounds quite a comfortable win for the home side, especially when they kept the visitors to nil.  That is only part of the story, however, as those who attended will testify, with the Reds having every bit as much of the game as their illustrious hosts.  What they did not do, however, was turn any of their opportunities into points.

For a full fifteen opening minutes, the travelling Salford faithful must have been lulled into a feeling of growing confidence, as their favourites went head-to-head in an intriguing arm wrestle, which gave no indication of the disappointments to come shortly after, as they succeeded in containing Wigan between the two twenty metre lines.

Indeed, for the vast majority of the game, the Reds’ defence coped extremely well with the challenge presented by the Warriors.  Where it all went wrong was in the number of handling errors and set restarts, which quickly crept in, thereafter, and although not the first, it was one of the first of these, when Tim Lafai tried an adventurous offload to Joe Burgess, which paid dividends to Wigan with their first try under the posts, by Liam Byrne.

To compound matters even further, a set restart on the fourth tackle of the next set gave their hosts sufficient extra possession to score a back-to-back pair, and we all know how demoralising those can be, particularly when both conversion kicks are successful.

Yet the Red Devils did mount a number of promising, but unsuccessful attacks on the home line.  The first of these came on twenty-minutes, when a long pass at the end of a flowing move from left to right found Rhys Williams in space, but excellent Wigan covering forced him into touch before he could cross the line.

A similar foray into the Wigan ten metre area, although helped by a rare Salford set-restart, was snuffed out by the Warriors’ defensive pressure, forcing a lost ball on the final tackle.  In fact, Salford’s only partially successful attack came on thirty-three minutes, when they forced a goal-line drop-out.

Wigan’s determination to exploit each and every one of the Red Devils’ errors had been laid bare, on twenty-three minutes, when a Wigan set-restart was followed by a kickable penalty, which Hardaker confidently slotted over.  It might have been only two points, but it turned their lead into a three-score margin.

A concerted effort to curtail the errors, immediately after the interval, led to some of Salford’s most imaginative and entertaining ball-handling approach work, but Brierley’s fumbled attempt to take a crucial pass led to Leuluai regaining possession and sprinting away, down their right touchline.  With Hardaker and Field in support, it looked all the world like another try was on the way, but everyone had reckoned without the pace and determination of Joe Burges who hared back to snuff out the danger before Hardaker could get the final pass to Field.

This totally unselfish contribution to the Salford cause, from Burgess, was typical of the endeavour and commitment of all the Red Devils throughout the match.  It just proves rather fruitless, though, if you concede so many errors that they all contribute to your own downfall.

“I’m enjoying my rugby” – Rhys Williams extends contract

Salford Red Devils are pleased to announce that winger Rhys Williams has extended his contract until at least the end of the 2023 season. 

The Welshman joined the club from London Broncos ahead of the 2020 season and helped Salford reach their first Betfred Challenge Cup Final in 51 years, scoring one of the most standout Wembley tries in the history of the competition.

In 38 appearances, Williams has scored 11 tries for Salford and has been one of the most consistent players in the squad since his arrival last year.

Speaking on why he decided to extend his stay, Williams said: “I’m enjoying my rugby. As long as I’m happy and I’m enjoying being around the team and working hard for them, then that’s good enough for me.

“I pride myself on my consistency and professionalism, and I aim to continue bringing that every week to put in a good performance come game day.”

The 31-year-old has had little experience of the Salford faithful before COVID-19 hit, so Williams is looking forward to playing in front of unrestricted crowds again.

I’m very excited. It was hard times with no crowds, especially at Wembley, so to get out on front of the fans is such a buzz and another reason why I wanted to commit to another 2 years.”

Speaking on Rhys’  contract extension, head coach Richard Marshall said: “I’m delighted to have Rhys extend his stay here at Salford, as one of my main goals for 2022 and onwards is to keep the core of our squad together.

“Rhys is an established international player and is consistently good on the wing each week. I’m looking forward to building on the great relationship I already have with him.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “I am delighted in getting Rhys to agree a new deal with the Salford Red Devils. Rhys has been up there as one of our best players for the last few years and has been a tremendous acquisition for the club since we signed him.

“An ultimate professional with ambition to win every game, he is a player with an exemplary attitude, with total and absolute commitment for our club.  I am so pleased that I’ve been able to agree the deal that will keep Rhys at the club for the next two years.”

Join Rhys at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday 13th August when we host Huddersfield Giants for Round 19 of the Betfred Super League. Buy your tickets HERE.

Group vaccinations in the Red Devils camp via NHS Salford CCG

With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Betfred Super League that has affected several clubs, including the Red Devils, a number of Salford players and staff members received their vaccinations on Tuesday through the NHS Salford CCG’s mobile vaccination clinic. 

Kallum Watkins, Rhys Williams, Jack Ormondroyd, Ryan Lannon and Jack Wells went down to the mobile clinic outside the Lowry in Salford this week, as well as our head of S&C Gareth Whittaker and our head of performance analysis, Chris Nelson. A number of players and staff had already had one or both of their jabs, with more group testing planned with NHS Salford CCG in the near future.

Salford Red Devils doctor Tim Sandels commented: “So I’ve been liaising with Richard Whitehead from the NHS Salford team to organise a squad covid-19 vaccination clinic. It’s been really important to get this done and great we managed it.

“The importance of covid vaccinations in the squad is key at trying to reduce covid-19 illness severity and also to reduce potential transmission within the sporting environment. Everyone involved at the clinic were great and it is brilliant that this first wave of players got their vaccines.

“It will hopefully have a positive impact on the community too to see the city’s only elite level sports club taking the pandemic seriously and getting their athletes vaccinated. We’re all just trying to work together and return to normality.”

Jack Wells is one of the youngest players in the squad this year, and he recognises the importance of getting vaccinated.

The 23-year-old said: “As a young athlete at the beginning of my career, I want to be playing at the top level for as long as I can. However, the risk of long COVID could really have an effect on me, such as cause me to develop long-term respiratory problems.

“That’s why I understand how important it is to get vaccinated, for my own health and also for the health of everyone else who I could transmit it to if I tested positive.

“Everyone seems to talk about how vital it is for the older generation to get their jabs, but it’s just as vital for us younger ones in helping stop the spread of this virus.”

All Salford residents over 18 years old, aged 16/17 years old and have an underlying health condition, or a carer either paid or unpaid can book their Covid-19 vaccine appointments here, or attend a walk-in clinic. NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) shares daily updates and details on walk-in clinics on their social media and their Covid-19 vaccine walk-in page.

The national booking system is also available for anyone to book or manage their appointment.