Pontyclun tribute to player Nathan Wills killed on A470

Nathan Wills Keen rugby player Nathan Wills had also worked as a lifeguard

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A rugby club has paid tribute to a "promising" player who died after his car crashed and caught fire on the A470 - one of Wales' busiest roads.

Pontyclun RFC offered "deepest heartfelt condolences" to the family of Nathan Wills, who was known as Willzey.

Mr Wills' death is the third time in less than a year that the club has lost a young player through a car crash.

His family said the "most tender and loving" 20-year-old was a "lad with the world at his feet".

Police closed the road for seven hours after the crash at 06:30 BST on Tuesday.

The incident happened just past the Pontypridd turn-off towards Rhydyfelin. Mr Wills was the only person travelling in the car.

The latest incident to hit the club has left members stunned said Pontyclun RFC first team manager Colin Theaker.

"Nathan was a lovely guy," he told BBC Wales news website. "He was a good and up and coming young player and was improving all the time."

He said Mr Wills had come through the club's youth team structure and made "quite an impression" when he moved up to the first 15.

'Waste'

Start Quote

I just couldn't believe it - it's just such a waste of another young life”

End Quote Colin Theaker Pontclun RFC first team manager

He said: "In his first year out of youth we had a spate of injuries and he was given his opportunity. He started in the second team then moved up to the first team.

"I just couldn't believe it. It's just such a waste of another young life."

More than 1,600 people have shown their support for a tribute page set up on Facebook for Mr Wills.

His death is the third road death connected to the club in less than a year.

In November 2010, 19-year-old Lewis Clark died near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, after his Vauxhall Corsa car hit a tree.

And in January, Thomas Padden, 20, died on the M4 near Cardiff in an incident which also claimed the life of his partner Louise Evans, 23, and his father Stephen, 56, who was driving.

'Surfing bug'

Start Quote

The hole that the loss of this vibrant young man has left will never be filled, and the pain of this loss will never diminish”

End Quote Jeffery and Tracey Wills Nathan Wills' parents

South Wales Police have appealed for witnesses to the crash in which Mr Wills' black Ford Fiesta left the road. He was declared dead at the scene.

In their tribute, Mr Wills' parents Jeffery and Tracey said Mr Wills was "the most tender and loving person you could ever wish to meet".

They said he had been a keen rugby player all his life, for Pontyclun, Llantrisant and also for Wanneroo Rugby Club in Australia during a visit in 2010.

They said: "Nathan also spent many years as a lifeguard at the Trecco Bay Caravan Park in Porthcawl, and was a very strong swimmer who picked up the surfing bug whilst he was in Australia, and spent a lot of time in the sea at Porthcawl.

"Nathan leaves behind his younger brother Tyrone, and elder sister Caprina, and was already looking forward to making a return trip to Australia with his brother," the family statement said.

Mr and Mrs Wills said, as a fluent Welsh speaker, their son had spent much of his free time helping his nephews Ciaran and Charlie learn the language.

"The hole that the loss of this vibrant young man has left will never be filled, and the pain of this loss will never diminish."

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