RUGBY ace Harry Williams is celebrating a "dream come true" after signing his first professional contract.

The 16-year-old scrum-half has penned a five-year deal with Scarlets.

The former Colchester Rugby Club youth-teamer will complete his Sixth Form studies at Ipswich’s St Joseph’s College, attending holiday training sessions with the Welsh giants.

Then, in the third year of the contract, he will move to Wales full-time and link up with the Llanelli powerhouse.

Dad Jon is well-known on the north Essex rugby circuit, having been a long-serving former Mersea Island captain, and said the news was special for the whole Williams family.

“We’re all immensely proud,” he said.

“It’s a dream come true and makes all the hard work and sacrifices worthwhile.

“Harry’s a very driven, highly-committed individual and that, combined with his natural talent and passion, has helped him get to this level.

“He’s got belief and confidence in his ability and he’s a mature head on young shoulders.

“He had his first training session on Tuesday, which must have been a bit daunting as he didn’t know anyone and half the boys speak Welsh.

“But he embraced it from the word go.

“He’s so excited about this next chapter in his life and it’s incredible that he’s joining Scarlets – such a famous club, steeped in Welsh history.

“They have a fantastic track record when it comes to producing young talent and this is an incredible opportunity.”

Harry grew up in Thorpe and is a former pupil at Rolph Primary School.

He then attended Tendring Technology College, in Frinton, before being offered a scholarship at St Joseph’s College, in Ipswich.

He played for Colchester Rugby Club and has spent the last three years as part of the Academy at Premiership side Northampton Saints.

“Both Harry and his older brother, Tom, have always been so dedicated to their sport, especially rugby,” said Jon.

“We’ve spent countless hours on the road together but this makes all the time and mileage worthwhile.

“So many people have helped on the journey and without them it wouldn’t be possible.

“We’re so grateful to them all.

“I’d like to mention the PE staff at Tendring Technology College.

“Harry’s side reached the Essex Schools Cup final for the first time and it was during one match for the team that he was first spotted by St Joseph’s.

“That set the wheels in motion and playing for them has been a huge help, too.

“His game has really blossomed and I know he was very highly thought of at St Joseph’s.

“We’re also very grateful to everyone at Colchester Rugby Club.

“Harry played all his mini and youth rugby there and his team won the Eastern Counties Cup on three occasions.

“Harry also had three years with Northampton Saints.

“That’s been another fabulous experience for him and he could have remained part of their programme but the thing that swayed it for him was the fact he wants to wear the red shirt of Wales.”

Multi-talented Harry also played cricket for Frinton and North Essex, tennis for Essex and spent two years within Colchester United’s Academy.

But his real passion has always been rugby.

“Many years ago he made a list of the things he wanted to achieve in his life," said Jon.

“It’s still pinned up in my mum and dad’s kitchen and on the piece of paper he wrote that he wanted to play pro rugby and also play for Wales and the British Lions.

“It’s in his blood and in addition to myself, Tom played for the Welsh Under-18 side, his grandad used to train with Scarlets in the 1970s and my brother, Craig, played semi-professional rugby for Swansea.

“I always remember taking Harry to watch him once and despite his uncle playing for arch rivals Swansea, Harry wanted to wear his Scarlets top.

“Maybe it was an omen and destiny that this would happen one day.”

In addition to penning his contract, Harry also attended a Welsh Rugby Union assessment at The Vale last Monday and will make his Scarlets debut over Easter.

Proud dad Jon and mum Nikki were both present when the contract was signed, along with Scarlets’ former Wales and British Lions coach Gareth Jenkins and academy manager Kevin George.