Rugby Sevens: Niall Williams poised to complete remarkable World Series comeback after career-threatening neck injury

Niall Williams will cap a remarkable comeback from injury on Friday, when she makes her return to the Black Ferns Sevens - more than two years since her last World Series match.

Williams hasn't played since a neck injury suffered in training that dashed her Tokyo Olympics dream, and almost ended her career.

But recovered, 34-year-old Williams is right back where she wants to be, with black jersey in her hands and soaking up a moment she thought may never come again.

Niall Williams.
Niall Williams. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

"Getting the call-up, that I've got the opportunity to pull the black jersey on again was really special, emotional," Williams said.

"I thought 'yep, I've done what I set out to do.'"

Last year Williams' Olympic dream was crushed and her career was hanging by a thread as she battled a rare neck injury. Doctors weren't sure if surgery was a possibility. 

"A lot of people didn't see what's at home. The moments where you're by yourself, the moments when it's just you, your partner, your kids - and they're asking 'mum, why are you crying?'"

Williams eventually did go under the knife last year, and is now hours away from a stunning comeback to the Sevens circuit.

It's one her teammates never doubted would happen, and they're over the moon to welcome her back.

"Her work day in, day out, to go through those struggles. And now for her to be here in Toulouse, you can feel her excitement," said New Zealand captain Sarah Hirini.

That excitement hasn't been felt since the Sydney Sevens in 2020, the last time Williams played on the World Series.

The journey since has been one blighted by pain, emotion and self doubt.

"Being able to actually find the courage to step into an uncomfortable place of 'am I actually good enough to be in the team."

"That's been really tough."

She's proved she is, and soon Niall Williams' two year Black Ferns absence will be over.