HAMILTON (Reuters): Rugby sensation Sonny Bill Williams will do whatever it takes to help the All Blacks secure a second World Cup crown — even if it has to be from the sidelines.
When Williams first made the All Blacks many were touting him as a potential world cup figurehead with his arsenal of deft offloads, strong running and impressive ball skills.
But it remains to be seen just how much game time the 26-year-old will get in this tournament. He’s up against form inside centre Ma’a Nonu for a starting spot and, in the process, is attempting to break up the lethal centre combination of Nonu and Conrad Smith — the most capped All Blacks centre combination, with 30 tests. Williams is not conceding defeat, far from it, but he seems to understand the enormity of the task.
“You know, every player wants to play, but with the team that we have, the players, the depth, there’s only going to be a limited number of chances, but you’ve just got to take them when you can. “If you’re not, you can’t drop your lip because we want to win this thing and if players are dropping their lip just because they’re not in the starting team or the 22, then we’re not going to be able to achieve what we want to.”
Williams said he was proud of achieving his dream of playing for the All Blacks and of being a part of the World Cup opener against Tonga, but was still keen to keep his team mates honest.
“There are a couple of big games coming up, and hopefully, every time I get my chance I nail it. But if I’m not in that 22 I know that my job’s not done there. I know I’ve got to prepare the boys that are starting as best as I can.
“It was good getting a shot and finally some game time (against Tonga), but like I said, I’m happy to be a part of this whole thing and I know what the big goal is.”