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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Canterbury go top as they beat Otago at Carisbrook

Canterbury go top as they beat Otago at Carisbrook

Canterbury went top of the ITM Cup as they outdid Otago at Carisbrook on the weekend, winning 35-20 despite the scores being tied with just 15 minutes left. Some great tries were scored, with Sonny Bill Williams again prominent as he scored an excellent 60m individual effort.

Torn between featuring Williams try on its own or include the other highlights, the quality of some of the other play, including the late try of Sean Maitlands, made it worth posting the full match highlights.

With the scores tied at 20-20, Williams worked the overlap then put the foot down to outstrip the Otago defence and score a very good try. For all his promise, Williams hasnt disappointed as each week hes shown flashes of brilliance. This game was just another example of his quality as he started at 13 instead of 12, and looked good.

Talk is now rife of his inclusion for the All Blacks on their upcoming tour of Hong Kong and Europe. His versatility means that he could easily slot in for Conrad Smith, partnering with Maa Nonu, or alternatively just come off the bench in other position.

The reality though is that he is still very raw, so until the 25 year old league convert is truly tested against top quality opposition, its hard to judge. The good money is on him being at next years World Cup anyway.

He was actually mobbed after the game by fans as they took to the field and surrounded the player. Things got a little out of hand and his own teammates had to shield him as they attempted to get off the park.

Security has been stepped up ahead of the next Canterbury game, which is against Southland on Saturday as the top two sides contest the Ranfurley Shied.

"There was a bit of a shemozzle at Carisbook last weekend when other players had to protect him rather than the security doing it. They weren't little kids, they were big kids who were all over him and for any of the players we have to make sure we protect their safety," said a Southland security official.

On an interesting sidenote, the match was refereed by recently retired player Glen Jackson, who many will know from his time in New Zealand, as well as his recent seasons with Saracens in the Guinness Premiership.

For those who are interested, an interview with Williams is included in this post after the highlights. At this stage in his union development, what do you think of his progress?

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