South East Wales

Rugby player Stuart Williams from Pontypridd RFC dies aged 33

Stuart Williams
Image caption Stuart Williams worked at Craig yr Hesg Quarry in Pontypridd

Tributes have been paid to a rugby player who has died suddenly aged 33.

Father-of-two Stuart Williams, who played for Pontypridd RFC, was taken ill at work, Craig yr Hesg Quarry, on Monday and later died, the club said.

Pontypridd's game against Neath - due to be played at the Gnoll this Saturday - has been postponed until further notice.

Mr Williams, from Glyncoch, was married to Vicky and the couple had two young children, Harvey and Megan.

Pontypridd RFC finance director Peter Howells described the prop forward as a "fine man on and off the pitch" who appeared well days before he died.

The club said Mr Williams had a "real physical presence" in the front row.

Image caption Mr Williams was described as a 'grafter'

"I was with him on Saturday night, he wasn't unwell. Devastated is not the word," Mr Howells said.

A statement on the club's website described Mr Williams as popular and loyal.

"The club is today devastated by the news of Stuart's passing, and all thoughts now turn in deepest sympathy to his young family in their time of grief," it read.

'Devastating news'

"Stuart was a popular character around the club, one who gave his all as a hard-grafting prop forward on the pitch, a long serving and loyal member of the squad.

Mr Williams represented his local club at youth level before moving to Pontypridd.

He graduated through the ranks and joined Rhymney in 2000.

Following a spell with Cilfynydd, Mr Williams became a regular member of the Pontypridd senior squad.

News of the death came as Wales coach Warren Gatland named his squad for the autumn internationals.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Stuart Williams' family," said Gatland.

"On behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union and the national squad our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very, very sad time."

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