A TEENAGE rugby player lay in agony for more than an hour waiting for an ambulance to take him to hospital just a few hundred yards away.

Eventually 16-year-old Liam Williams was taken on a stretcher from Pill Harriers rugby ground on Court-y-Bella Terrace, to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital on Cardiff Road in a friend’s 4x4 car.

The former St Joseph’s RC High School pupil was training with the club’s youth team when his leg gave way, leaving him screaming and writhing in pain on the floor around 7pm.

His coach dialled 999 but claims it took eight minutes for the call to be connected to the ambulance service, only for him to be told there were no ambulances available.

Several calls later he was eventually put through to an operator in north Wales, who, due to her location, was unable to help.

An ambulance driver watching the session called his own depot so see if they could help, but after more than an hour waiting, club members were told Liam would have to make his own way to hospital.

His mum Carol Williams, of Rogerstone, said she was “astounded” by the delay.

She said: “Fortunately in this case it wasn’t life threatening but those eight minutes, in the case of a heart attack or a stroke, could have been too late.

“He was in pain, but also there was the fear of nobody being able to help him.”

She thanked Pill Harriers coaches and everyone who helped her son get to hospital.

Liam, who played for Newport Gwent Dragons Academy from the age of 11 until recently, added: “The pain was unbearable, I just wanted it to end.

“I was just thinking if I was critically ill I could have died.”

Liam arrived at the hospital around 8.30pm but did not see a doctor until after midnight.

An X-ray revealed he had no broken bones but it is believed he has torn cruciate ligaments around his knee.

A spokesman for Pill Harriers said he was “disgusted” with the wait and would make a formal complaint to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

A Trust spokesman apologised for any distress caused and said it was was investigating the circumstances and would share the outcome with the patient and family involved.