October 21, 2018

Sonny Bill Williams selected for All Blacks

A chance for Sonny Bill Williams to stake his claim for a Rugby World Cup spot.

Former rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams has been selected in the All Blacks squad to play Australia in Hong Kong and the Autumn Internationals in Europe.

After two seasons with French club Toulon, Williams signed with the Canterbury Rugby Union earlier this year to play in the NPC ITM Cup and for the Canterbury Crusaders in Super Rugby.

It is no secret that Williams could have earned more money if he stayed in France but the lure of a possible All Blacks jersey and a shot at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 was too attractive to pass up.

With only six caps for Canterbury under his belt after an injury plagued start to the season, the All Blacks selectors have obviously selected him on potential. The temptation to bring him into the All Blacks training environment and go on tour has proved too strong for Graham Henry.

In his limited provincial career so far Williams has shown and incredible ability to bust the line and off-load in the tackle. There are other aspects of his game that need to be polished, especially defence, but that can be brought up to the required standard.

It is hard to see Williams unseating the two incumbents in the Centres for the All Blacks – Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith. With other midfield contenders dropping with either injury or form there is a spot for Williams to come off the bench with 20 minutes to go and bust through tiring defences.

Sonny Bill is not everyones cup of tea. His star status doesn’t sit well with a certain section of New Zealand rugby fans who don’t like tall poppies. They are the same fans who enjoyed knocking Jonah Lomu for hogging the headlines.

Newswarped thinks Sonny Bill has a lot of talent but the antic’s of his manager Khoder Nasser are a bit of a turn-off, and SBW seems happy to let him have free reign.

The All Blacks squad (with province and Test caps in brackets) is:
Forwards:
John Afoa Auckland (25)
Anthony Boric North Harbour (16)
Daniel Braid Auckland (4)
Tom Donnelly Otago (13)
Hikawera Elliot Hawke’s Bay (0)
Ben Franks Tasman (7)
Owen Franks Canterbury (17)
Andrew Hore Taranaki (47)
Jerome Kaino Auckland (33)
Richie McCaw (capt) Canterbury (89)
Keven Mealamu Auckland (80)
Liam Messam Waikato (5)
Kieran Read Canterbury (25)
Brad Thorn Canterbury (46)
Samuel Whitelock Canterbury (8)
Tony Woodcock North Harbour (69)

Backs:
Andy Ellis Canterbury (14)
Daniel Carter Canterbury (74)
Jimmy Cowan Southland (41)
Stephen Donald Waikato (19)
Hosea Gear Wellington (2)
Cory Jane Wellington (20)
Alby Mathewson Wellington (1)
Mils Muliaina Waikato (89)
Ma’a Nonu Wellington (52)
Josevata Rokocoko Auckland (66)
Sitiveni Sivivatu Waikato (43)
Conrad Smith Wellington (41)
Isaia Toeava Auckland (26)
Sonny Bill Williams Canterbury *

* new All Black

All Blacks’ schedule
30 Oct – All Blacks v Australia, Hong Kong
7 Nov – All Blacks v England, London
14 Nov – All Blacks v Scotland, Edinburgh
21 Nov – All Blacks v Ireland, Dublin
28 Nov – All Blacks v Wales, Cardiff