Friday, November 05, 2010
So the biggest news of the week is that Sonny Bill Williams has been picked to start for the All Blacks against England in Saturday's Twickenham Test. Premature some might say, but for those who have seen him play in recent times, it's well justified.
Williams' rugby union journey has been well documented, starting with him falling out with his NRL team and defecting to France to take up the fifteen man code. While there, under the tutorledge of legendary All Black Tana Umaga, SBW learnt the basics of the game and since heading back to his homeland of New Zealand, has thrived with his new team Canterbury.
In just a few weeks of ITM Cup rugby, Williams has silenced the critics as he's shown those magical touches that league fans will have been treated to for years.
Nobody likes unjustified hype, and while there will always be naysayers whenever someone gets too big for the game, Sonny Bill Williams is a unique player, the likes of which we've not seen in rugby union before. His approach is different to the norm, and what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for in raw talent and confidence in his own ability.
Yes, playing Test rugby for the All Blacks will be a huge leap from what is effectively third division rugby in the NPC, but there's no reason why he shouldn't continue to grow as a player and with just under a year to go till the World Cup, there is plenty of rugby to be played and loads of experience to be gained.
Fast tracked into the All Blacks setup for this end of year tour, Williams has been selected to partner Ma'a Nonu in midfield against England. Things will be tight out there, with less space and more pressure than what he's been used to in recent weeks. There's no doubt however that with ball in hand - usually just the one - Sonny Bill Williams will cause all sorts of chaos for opposition defenders.
This is a video showing his best bits from the past few weeks. Obviously it shows the flash bits, but he's shown that he's a hard worker off the ball too, and isn't afraid to get stuck in when required. Enjoy, and if you do, please share the link via the share or tweet buttons below.
Music: Invaders must die - Prodigy
Note: For those in areas where this video won't play, eg: Germany, you can view it here