Niall Williams’ remarkable pathway into Sevens


Williams featured on Sky Sport’s Investec Super Rugby Isolation Nation and told Kirstie Stanway about how she got into the game. It all comes down to New Zealand Touch icon Peter Walters.


“He is the GOAT of all GOATS in touch, and not just in New Zealand, but worldwide everyone knows him. One year, he pulled me aside and said to me that rugby sevens is going to be in the next Olympics. I was like ok, cool story, it was really left field, and then he said, I want you to play and you are going to be at the next Olympics.


“I just thought this guy is crazy and I knew he was getting older, but I thought he’s lost the plot.”


At the time, Williams had a six-week old and had just finished playing four days of touch and Walters said to her that Auckland Sevens training was the next day and she had to be there at 5.45am.



“I remember he said to me, this is the first step you take to a whole new life and you need to be there. I struggled to lift the 20kg bar, I couldn’t do a chin up, but one thing that I knew I always had, was mental toughness and once I put my mind to it, I made sure I have everything I could to get it done.”


Williams picked up Sevens in 2014 and debuted for New Zealand only a year later. She’s since gone onto play 138 games for the Black Ferns Sevens, scoring 39 tries.


She is the mother of two daughters, Tatum-Lee and Rema-Rae. Williams said now they are getting older, it’s getting more difficult when she travels with the Black Ferns Sevens on the World Series.


“When they were young, all they thought was Mum is leaving, but when she comes back, we get a present. So that was happy days, but as they have got older, they ask how many days and how many sleeps and say it’s so long until I’m coming home. The hardest past is missing their swim meets or cross country and things like that, that won’t happen again that year.”


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She was lost for words when she spoke about her partner, former Touch Blacks player Tama Guthrie, and how amazing he is with the girls when she is on the road. The pair met when Williams was playing touch.


“It’s a funny story actually. We never really crossed paths, because I was playing opens and he was playing age group, and I actually thought he was younger than me. All these years later, I became a postie and I remember my boss saying to me, there is a guy coming in and he said he knows you from touch. You are going to train him for the next four weeks.


“He walked through the doors and I was like daym, he’s grown up a bit. The rest is history. 13 years later, two kids and a house.”


Growing up watching her brother, Sonny Bill Williams, Niall was in awe about what he did for a living. The lifestyle really appealed to her, but she never imagined she would be on the same path.


“I’m just so grateful that I got that first opportunity from Pete to play Sevens, it’s just opened up so many doors.”


Investec Super Rugby Isolation Nation is on every Wednesday and Sunday night at 7:30pm on Sky Sport 1.


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