Tonight's rugby news as Welsh sides chase centre admired by Gatland and star devastated by wife's death

Williams is reportedly being eyed by Welsh clubs
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Here's your round-up of all the latest rugby news for Sunday, July 7.

Welsh sides chasing centre

Welsh clubs are monitoring Bristol Bears star James Williams, according to reports.

The inside centre, who was handed a new deal at Ashton Gate in April, has become a mainstay of the Bristol midfield this season, keeping France international Virimi Vakatawa on the bench. Williams scored 63 points in 25 appearances during the recent campaign with most of those coming from the kicking tee.

A report from RugbyPass says he is now attracting interest from across the border, with more than one unidentified Welsh club circling the centre. The report adds that Williams is a player who has been identified by Wales boss Warren Gatland as one "he would like to have in his international set-up".

The 27-year-old joined Bristol two years ago following three spells with Hartpury and stints with Birmingham Moseley, Worcester Warriors, and Sale Sharks.

Born in England, his only appearance at Test level saw him feature for the Barbarians against Samoa last summer, when he scored four points from the tee.

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Star devastated by wife's death

Samoa international Joe Tekori has announced that his wife Helen has died at the age of 44.

The former Toulouse second row, who departed the French giants this summer, confirmed the tragic news on social media as he paid tribute to Helen, with whom he shares two sons, Owen and Preston.

"Rest in love. I will love you all my life. I can't sleep. I can't imagine you're gone my baby," he wrote. "Have a safe trip baby, you will watch over us".

Helen's cause of death has not been disclosed. After Tekori's announcement, Toulouse issued a statement describing her as a "radiant woman" who was "so important" to the club.

"Stade Toulousain learned this morning with emotion of the death of Helen Tekori, at the age of 44," it read. "Wife of Joe and mother of Owen and Preston, Helen was a radiant woman and so important in the life of the club, particularly for her zest for life. We send our most sincere condolences to Joe, his two children, their family and their loved ones. "

Megan Ely, the partner of Tekori's former team-mate and England international Jack Willis also paid tribute, writing: "I have never met someone so loved by so many people. She is truly the most incredible person who will be missed beyond words."

Gatland focusing on positives

Head coach Warren Gatland says he's determined to focus on the positives from his side's defeat to Australia in Sydney, a result that coincides with Wales losing dropping to 11th in the world rankings.

The 25-16 loss on Saturday was also Wales' eighth success loss, and their 14th in 20 games, but Gatland insists there were some tangible positives to take.

"We know where we are at the moment - we're developing this team," he said. "We said all along and have been up front in what we're trying to do.

"I hope people can see some development in terms of the players and experience with what we're trying to do towards the next World Cup. I understand you are going to get pressure from people talking about a losing run at the moment.

"But in that run we've been in games, been in front and easily could have won a few, and tonight's the same. I thought there were some positives in terms of what we're trying to do. A bit more accuracy, you get decisions which go your way and you win.

"Those are big moments we need to learn from to make sure in those tight matches, you end on the winning side."

Scotland kick off tour by crushing Canada

Scotland began their Americas tour with a resounding 73-12 win over Canada in Ottawa on Friday evening.

The hosts actually started the brighter, and took the lead when skipper Lucas Rumball went over for a try. But Scotland hit back with scores from Josh Bayliss, Dylan Richardson (2) and Arron Reed, handing them the lead at the break.

Gus Warr extended Scotland's advantage after the break before Canada closed the gap when Kyle Baillie crossed over the whitewash.

Warr went over for his second try of the game, shortly before Reed completed his own brace.

Harry Paterson ran in for Scotland's eighth try before Glasgow scrum-half Jamie Dobie added a try of his own shortly after.

Stafford McDowall touched down for number 10, and Kyle Steyn finished things off with the last play of the game.