1. ITV Report

Meet the woman who's Wales' first full-time professional rugby player

Sian Williams is Wales' first female full-time professional rugby player. Credit: WRU

She's been playing rugby since she was eight and now Sian Williams is Wales' first full-time professional female rugby player.

The Wales flanker has been awarded Elite Athlete status by her employers, the Royal Air Force, so she can play rugby professionally.

SAC Williams represented both the RAF and UK Armed Forces teams since she joined up in 2008 and currently serves as a Trade Group 18 Logistics (Mover) at RAF Brize Norton.

I am at a point in my rugby career where I want to keep learning and keep getting better. Achieving Elite Athlete Status gives me the time before the next Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 to strive for excellence and do everything in my power to become a world class rugby player.

– Sian Williams

Watch Nick Hartley's report:

Fitness, courage and hard work are values we treasure in the Royal Air Force, and they’re equally important in rugby. So we’re proud that SAC Williams is now able to put those qualities to use both in the RAF and as a member of the Wales squad. Now that she has Elite Athlete Status she will be able to train full-time to play for Wales while also encouraging her RAF colleagues to enjoy the many sporting opportunities and healthy lifestyle the Service offers. We look forward to celebrating her achievements for Wales in the months and years ahead.

– Air Commodore Adrian Williams, the RAF's senior officer in Wales

It is fantastic that the RAF has recognised Sian’s playing ability and commitment to the game in this way. As a Union, women’s rugby is one of our key strategic priorities and this recognition can only strengthen the quality of the national team and our efforts to encourage more women and girls to get involved.

– WRU Group Chief Executive Martyn Phillips

The Wrexham-born back row made her debut for Wales in 2011 against Scotland and has earned 20 full caps over the last two seasons and represented Wales Women at Sevens. She also plays regional rugby for Newport Gwent Dragons and in the premiership for Worcester.