TALENTED tight-head prop Nick Schonert has said he would relish the chance to go up against Mike Williams at Welford Road next season.
Williams, who made 51 appearances for Worcester Warriors, will embark on a new chapter in his promising career when he joins Leicester Tigers this summer.
His decision to leave Warriors comes just 12 months after he rekindled his relationship with Schonert who arrived from Super 15 side Cheetahs.
The South African pair became ‘best buddies’ when they played together at the Sharks and then College Rovers in Durban.
“When I was in my last year of school, I first my him at the trials for the Sharks’ under-19 squad,” Schonert said.
“I had never met him before, but we started chatting and got to know each other.
“The next year when I left school, but was contracted to the Sharks, we just became best buds. He was my captain for the U19 Sharks and played plenty of games together at College Rovers in Durban and at the Sharks.”
Schonert is also used to being on opposing sides to Williams and he said he was hopeful of facing him in the Aviva Premiership.
“When he left for Pretoria, I played against him in the Vodafone Cup and Currie Cup, so we have known each other for possibly six or seven years,” he said.
“It is amazing (that we joined up together again). Life can be very strange like that, so I am glad that our paths crossed and hopefully if all goes well at Leicester will we meet each other again.”
Miles Benjamin and Graham Kitchener both struggled to break into the first team at Tigers when they made the switch from Sixways.
But Schonert said he was confident Williams, who can operate at lock and in the back row, would be a success at the ten-time English champions.
“I think it does matter who you are or where you are if you are a good player you are going to get noticed,” he said.
“Mike has been playing brilliant rugby for the past two seasons here and if he keeps it up I think he will do really well at Leicester.
“I would have loved for him to have stayed here as he has been such a big part of this team. But at the end of the day he has made a choice, stuck with it and I am proud of him for that.”