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Super Rugby Hits of the Season 2015

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sonny Bill Williams puts the shoulder in against the Highlanders

The top of the table Chiefs beat the Highlanders 27-21 in a heated encounter in Dunedin on Saturday. Sonny Bill Williams sparked an early try, but was involved in a scuffle early in the second half. He has also announced that he's moving to Rugby League.

Williams, who has played for Toulon, the Crusaders, and the Chiefs since moving to Union, is set to head to Japan for a short stint, then the NRL, to join the Sydney Roosters in 2013.

According to the Herald on Sunday, he needs to be in Japan by 30 August, which means that while he will be available for the All Blacks' first two Rugby Championship games, he will not take part.

The good news for All Black fans is that he aims to return to the Chiefs in 2014, and will hope to be part of the Test squad that defends the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015.

He will no doubt find time to box too, and against the Highlanders looked to be getting ready for both that  and League, as he put the shoulder in on Nick Crosswell, which led to a bit of a spat between SBW and a few of the forwards, with fiery second rower Jarrad Hoeata included.

"It's all handbags," said Highlanders skipper Jamie McIntosch, while Williams himself appeared to ask if some of the Highlanders forwards thought they were taking part in a Fight for Life event.

What do you think of the latest reports on Williams' possible move?

Posted by Rugbydump at 1:40 pm | View Comments (85)

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 85 comments

Full Back July 01, 2012 3:45 pm

Good refereeing in my opinion, bit of a warning no need for cards. Thought the commentators remark was a bit daft "we see that every week", we see off-sides and off your feet at the ruck every week as well, it doesn't mean it stops being a penalty.

As for SBW move to league, he only young once, he's right to do exactly what he wants. I don't imagine the All Blacks will be stuck for centres to take his place.

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Gallego July 01, 2012 4:19 pm

Good refereeing? He had a fight that went on for over 30 seconds (from 0:17 onwards) before pausing the game, that was plain stupid.

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rugby08 July 01, 2012 5:19 pm

Yea agree with you there Gallego. The reff looked out of his depth to me

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Full Back July 03, 2012 4:36 pm

So the solution would be what? If a fight breaks out stop the game? I don't agree, you'd have punches thrown to slow up the play all over the shop if you start that. I thought it wise to let the game flow as long as it was flowing. He stopped it at the appropriate time in my opinion.
In any case I was referring more to his calm way of dealing with the players, not going all card happy on them and getting on with the game. I don't see why he would be out of his depth but I guess we're all entitled to our opinions

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Pretzel July 05, 2012 1:34 pm

@Full back, not if the punishments were more severe... I don't like seeing people carded for weak punches, or scuffles, but if cards were handed out when the game was stopped on the button it would cure the problem....

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SaffaUK July 01, 2012 3:47 pm

SBW - Awesome player, really needs to learn how to shut his trap when the ref is talking, and personally i think should of been a yellow.

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Fresh July 01, 2012 3:50 pm

Sonny is a GREAT well rounded player, BUT those shoulders chargers gotta STOP...seriously man. If it was league that its understandable but we playing union mate. I bet its really annoying playing against him at times, because of the shit he pulls...

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kiwicase July 01, 2012 3:56 pm

SBW threw that 2nd rower to the ground like he was a rag doll. Haha. No need for cards and Full Back said. Good move to Japan and then back to league for a season, although in my opinion the guy has nothing to prove in NRL, I guess if the money is right of luck to him I say and fingers crossed he comes back to NZ rugby in 2014.

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poccio July 01, 2012 4:09 pm

I thought the ref was going to give a white card...seemd like the perfect time to do so since the assistant ref basically said he hadn't seen everything..

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Citing Commissioner July 01, 2012 4:09 pm

Whatever decision the referee makes (in this case the right one, penalty and nothing more) I find SBW's attitude pretty vile, he may be a great player but that doesn't give him the right to speak to a referee like that. The sooner he is in league the better if he doesn't change his tune!

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Reality July 01, 2012 4:52 pm

I think the same. He just kept on going for people first of all in the big dust-up, and then wouldn't shut his mouth when the referee was talking. If the referee wasn't so spineless he would have given Williams a yellow for mouthing off at him.

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Calon Lan July 01, 2012 4:25 pm

I was expecting a lot worse from the title.
Sonny Bill Williams Tackling Without Using Arms = Penalty
Sonny Bill Williams Talking Without Using Brain, Ears or Common Bloody Sense = Yellow Card

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moddeur July 01, 2012 4:31 pm

SBW is a League player who just happens to enjoy playing Union but doesn't quite get it yet (even Chris Ashton has made more progress in that area).

It's not the first time that I've seen him "tackle" (between big "" quotes) with an elbow, a shoulder, or a Japanese high punch, in typical League-thug fashion.

The only sad part is that he's not yet capable of admitting he does it, and instead prefers to complain about being "punched" (between huge "" quotes) by an "angry" opponent.

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Fresh July 01, 2012 5:15 pm

Well they are angry at him for tackling using his shoulders...Any rugby player on the side would be mad-WHY?? because its effective and hard, sadly its ILLEGAL...Dont try and hit me with that rugby is a soft game bullshit!

doesn't quite get it yet??? His been playing since 2008 when he landed a contracted with Toulon..You do the math!

As I have mentioned earlier in my other post, it pretty frustrating when his tackling like that! NOT COOL...I love him as rugby player but his gotta STOP that dirty play-according to union rules!

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moddeur July 01, 2012 5:48 pm

Hold on, I am more or less saying the same thing that you are saying (about SBW's League-thuggery).
I put "tackle" between quotes because what SBW does is NOT a tackle in the Union book!

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Reality July 01, 2012 7:12 pm

Unfortunately, punctuation is lost on some people.

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suntzu July 01, 2012 5:15 pm

I love to watch this guy play but wow the way he behaves himself when being talked to has just made him lose a lot of the respect I had for him... I've carded players for talking to me like that in amateur french divisions... indeed, go to league, or actually, play soccer, you'd fit in just fine over there Mr SBW...

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rugby08 July 01, 2012 5:21 pm

Nothing more than a penalty. Hoeta was a bit lairy and should of had a talking to. How the touch judge didn't see that who knows.

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Ando July 01, 2012 5:56 pm

I think what I enjoyed most about this little tussle was the banter between the players themselves and with the ref, as well as the commentary. Classic stuff.

SBW seems like a bit of an arrogant c*ck though, doesn't he? Plus not a fan of how he talked back and disrespected the ref. At one point there I'm not sure but did I hear him tell the ref to "f*ck off" after the ref said the penalty would be against him for a shoulder charge?

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suntzu July 01, 2012 7:03 pm

You're right he did say "F*ck off"... that's a red card offense...

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Ando July 02, 2012 1:21 am

I don't think the shoulder charge was worth a yellow card, but I'm surprised the ref didn't put him back in his box when he kept arguing back.

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Noah July 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Yeah, I heard the "f*ck off" too. I would have liked to see a card for that.

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Pretzel July 01, 2012 6:56 pm

SBW comes across as a bit of a "See you next tuesday" in this video... Has he reached the pinnacle of greatness in his own mind, therefore deeming himself untouchable? League player, union player, boxer, what next in the mountain of awesomeness in SBW's mind?

Or am I just over analysing a scuffle?

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rugby08 July 02, 2012 7:42 am

You're overthinking way too much

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Pretzel July 02, 2012 10:14 am

The rest of the stuff aside, he still seems like a **** in this video...

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Juggernauter July 01, 2012 7:23 pm

SBW has lots of attributes. He's big, madly skilled, powerful and smart. He can draw in defenders and unleash temmates. But what he doesn't have is LOYALTY nor COMMITMENT. He didn't have it with the Bulldogs back in 2008, he didn't have it with the Crusaders, he doesn't have it with the Chiefs and he clearly doesn't have it with Rugby Union.

It's sad, if you ask me. Because a player of his calibre could leave an inmense legacy. Look at Carter or McCaw, or O'Driscoll or Mortlock: commited to the cause, don't go after the money but after the glory. Loyalty to your teammates. Loyalty to the sport you love. SBW is just a showman. He can't commit. He thinks he's bigger than rugby. And that sucks.

The fact that he's going for a short stint on Japan (chasing money), then back to NRL (chasing money), then back to Union so that he can make the All Blacks squad for 2015 (chasing the glory that onlt rugby can give him) just sums him up. It just disgusts me that the NZRU will probably be waving their tails in waiting for him to get enough cash and then be admitted back to the All Blacks as if nothing have happened. As if he didn't turn his back on rugby for some green. And who could blame them? He's extraordinary on the pitch.

I think this guy just doesn't fit within the values of our sport. OK, it's professional now, OK, money will always have a say in the outcome, but it's the integrity, the commitment and the legacy that the legends build that keep it as the best sport in the world.

Stay in League, box, dance, make pies, whatever you want SBW. But you don't mess with our sport.

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Ando July 01, 2012 7:36 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with your last two paragraphs! League and boxing can have him...

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Pretzel July 01, 2012 10:12 pm

It all really comes down to the surrounding team mates... Money is always going to be the winner for the player, the management and the union. But team mate attitude cannot be easily bought. It is difficult, do you pick the guy that has been in the team making the best progress, is a brilliant player and has been solidly with you for the last 5 years, or do you pick the guy who is a little bit better but will likely hop on the next plane to the next wad of cash?

When I was away at university, I use to go back when the uni team wasn't playing and play for my old side, there were a couple of local players which used to get upset by us "uni boys" for coming back and knocking them out the side, especially seeing as we didn't train with them during the week (as we were at uni) and we didn't play week in week out with their team. Can you blame me for wanting to play rugby? No. Is it fair to pick me over someone who dedicates his time and effort TO the team EVERY week? No, its completely unfair. But if more players had not wanted me and the others then we wouldn't have played.

I think I had a fairly valid reason....even though it was if the rest of the team feel let down by SBW's lack of commitment through the friendlies, the summer and autumn series etc, and him only coming back for "glory".. then that could keep him from the team...

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Joe July 02, 2012 2:53 am

Blah Blah Blah.....Cry me a bloody river!

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Patrick July 02, 2012 7:42 pm

I do agree with some of what you've said, but there's a few things I would add to it.

Be realistic, if somebody offered you more money to do your job, you might well take it. If you could travel the world and have fun doing so, thats also a positive.

Yes this "disloyalty" may leave a bad taste in the mouth, but one of the features of the professional game is that fans often feel (as we effectively pay their wages) that we have a right to control their lives and critique their decisions, but they're his decisions, not ours. They get paid by someone either way, so what gives us the right to complain?

He should still stay in Union though!

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Juggernauter July 02, 2012 9:41 pm

Yeah, fair enough. I guess it's out of frustration. It sucks that he'll become one of those "could have beens" when he could have becomed a legend. But fair point, after all it's a job and he has to pay his wages. I won't say that he has to stay in one club for his whole life, but, for example, if he's going to Japan, OK, but go for at least 2 years and help the club develop and grow rather than only your wallet and help the game develop there.

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Juggernauter July 02, 2012 9:42 pm

*they have to pay their bills

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katman July 01, 2012 7:50 pm

SBW's god-complex ruins any chance of respect for the player he is. Either of those two shoulder charges should have seen him cool off for 10 minutes. And to then go on at the ref like he's one of the blokes in the scuffle is pretty far from on. I'd have sent him to bed with a red for that.

As for his loyalty... from League to Union to Boxing (while his mates train) to Japan to League and then back to Union? If I were a coach I'd tell him to shove his mesmerising offloads. Nonu's better value.

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Pretzel July 01, 2012 10:13 pm


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guest July 01, 2012 11:41 pm

yellow? lol this is just rugby it happens all the time, it aint about being all nice to each other and loving, its physically game and when you go out there its a battle!. go play cricket.

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Jon July 02, 2012 12:41 am

He's an excellent player.
If he wants to box and play both kinds of rugby, that's up to him. I'm fine with it.
I don't understand the thing about him owing loyalty to any one team. I don't feel that way about my job, why should he about his. But that's just my opinion.
In terms of the penalty here, I thought there was nothing in it.
Those 'shoulder charges' are pretty much the same as a normal tackle, but without the utterly meaningless token arm movement.
All hits at this level are put on with the shoulder, the arms are basically incidental.
It's a stupid rule, in my opinion.
But it is in the rule book I suppose so a penalty is fine. A bit of handbags, a few players letting off some steam and we get on with the game.

Nothing wrong with any of it.

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Canadian content July 02, 2012 2:22 am

Agreed with the comments about the ref. He was clueless to the fight and then allowed swb to rant and disrespect him. As much as Nigel pisses me off, he would have shut swb up or given him a yellow.

Both tackles were shoulder charges, ones a penalty, two consecutive on the same player is a yellow.

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Jon July 02, 2012 3:31 am

It isn't Europe, you rarely see cards for this kind of stuff in Super rugby.
And thank God for that.

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Sledgey July 02, 2012 5:50 am

Where do you get "same player"?

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rugby08 July 02, 2012 7:44 am

The other side of the coin is Nigel Owens gets too emotional and flustered most of the time.

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nick July 02, 2012 3:44 am

when is the final june test between NZ and ireland being put up? or england vs. SA? or Oz vs wales?

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Sledgey July 02, 2012 5:49 am

Wow a lot of haters in here!
The so called shoulder charge was no more than a check, thats hard rugby no more no less.
I saw an All Black elbow almost knock a guy out last week, does it make a diference if he was running with the ball or, thats just hard rugby.
As is being tossed to the ground like a rag doll, just hard rugby, you getting the picture yet haters?

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moddeur July 02, 2012 9:17 am

Since I don't consider myself an SBW hater, I'll answer for those who do.
SBW is a great player with a lot of decent skills, but he often leads his tackles with the shoulder (when it's not with a horizontal arm, or an elbow). This is just stuff he learned in League. He should get over it. But it's taking him a long time to do so ...

The greatest thing about Union is that it's a challenge to stop a fully-launched bulldozer with your arms and upper body strength only. In League all you need to do is smash into people shoulder first: takes less skill, and does a lot more damage to both players. In other words it's not very interesting, and I certainly wouldn't call it hard rugby. Simple rugby, rather. Or crude rugby perhaps.

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Jon July 03, 2012 1:21 am

A couple things real quick.
Moddeur, all players are taught to tackle with the point of the shoulder. It's standard tackling technique.
90% of tackles, especially at this level, are hits with the shoulder followed by a largely perfunctory arm movement.
Anyone who isn't using the point of the shoulder is not tackling correctly and should be dropped to work on their technique.
If you don't tackle with your shoulder, you will straight away become a defensive liability and get steamrolled regularly. Essentially you wouldn't be doing your job at all.
No one can lift enough weights to have arms big enough to stop a 120kg no 8 from running over the top of you. It's impossible, it's just physics. You need to hit with your shoulder so that all your body weight is channeled into the hit.
All hits are with the shoulder, followed by the arms swinging round. The arms are useful, because once you've stopped momentum with your shoulder you can grasp the other guy and drag him down, or wrap up the ball to prevent the offload. But the shoulder is what matters.
Sonny Bill's hits here were normal, but he didn't make the perfunctory arm movement. Technically illegal, but only because of what is really a bit of a stupid rule which kind of makes no sense.
And it's not any more dangerous than a normal hit, and certainly is a lot less dangerous than scrummaging and much of rucking.

In regards to league, you sound liek you are coming from a position of ignorance. It seems like you reflectivley despise it without really understanding or following the game.
When you say it's crude, that's completely subjective.
It's certainly more brutal in terms of tackling. Players get through a lot more work too. But there's no rucking, which is very brutal, and no scrummaging, which is down right dangerous and potentially lethal.
In terms of skills, league's ahead of union. The average league player has better handling skills than the average union player, especially offloading.

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moddeur July 03, 2012 9:31 am

Wasn't expecting so much interest in my post!

I disagree that tackles are "with the shoulder". Tackles in my book are a combination of the neck area and shoulder area locking into the side of a player, followed by arms wrapping (not swinging), grabbing (working thumbs are important here), pulling (go thumbs!!), and tipping (use the opponent's weight/shape against him). The arms are not sidelined to a simple "perfunctory movement". The arms are responsible for the success or failure of nearly all tackles. They decide where and how to apply the final pressure to tip the person down. At least that's how I play rugby.
If I try to tackle "with the shoulder", I'll never manage to wrap my arms around. I'll just hit my opponent in the thorax with the shoulder.

On the matter of League, I didn't say it was crude, I said that tackles in it are crude. In response to the above poster's use of the adjective "hard" when defining SBW's shoulder hits. Why say something is hard, when in reality it's just crude? That was the point.

But you're free to defend League. I've watched a few games and found that it doesn't lift the spirit as much, but I'm not completely against it either. This is all very subjective, you'll agree. The same goes for one's perception of the brutality of rucks. I'll follow you on scrums however, I don't like the whole new concept of people driving in. It's brutal and it's poorly refereed. Players should link up first, and push later, like they used to.
Ball handling skills in League vs Union? I don't buy that. Put 2 extra players on each side in a League game and let's see if the ball moves along as nicely.

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Full Back July 03, 2012 5:02 pm

I don't know what level you play at and maybe it's irrelevant. The technique you describe is more or less the schoolboy technique, correct but ineffective if you go up against a 100kg+ players (I'm open to correction, maybe your arms are huge). If you watch Ronan O'Gara you'll see numerous examples of how, even when a player gets his shoulder down low he can get steamrolled. (mostly he's just positioned badly but not always)
The aggressive tackling technique being coached by most at the moment is closer to what Jon describes. You start with your elbows close to your sides, you point your shoulder to the spot you want to hit and you bend your knees in order to drive into the tackle, at the point of impact you punch forward with your arms and pull them back towards yourself while still (hopefully) driving forward off your legs, resulting in a sort of bear hug. (Getting your thumbs involved could result in arthritis at an early age due to numerous breaks and dislocations :) )
There's also the fact that alot of players get away with not wrapping because they barge their shoulder in under the ball and straighten up with their hand between the ball and the player, (preferably) keeping him on his feet at the same time. It's all well and good, I enjoy skillful defence, but technically it's not wrapping!
I agree on the ball skills argument, too many variables in order to judge it correctly. I have difficulty in believing that league players have more ball skills than Rocokoko, Carter, O'Driscoll, Nonu, Contepomi and company. They may have more skills than the forwards but it's hardly a fair comparison to make. When you narrow it down to the backs the picture changes somewhat.

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Jon July 04, 2012 8:13 am

Ah, I get bored at work Modduer and I'm obsessed with rugby, so I get into these long debates about this stuff. I appreciate you humoring me!
Look, with tackling technique, I'm gonna have to disagree with you and leave it at that. Technique as you've described, and as Fullback suggests, sounds fairly amateur, for want of a better term.
Hitting with the shoulder is what is taught these days, especially at a higher level. You have to, it's the only way to get enough body weight and momentum into a hit, to stop the big guys (and even backline players are big units these days).
In regards to league skills, perhaps I was a bit too general.
Of course union players are skillful, in fact they have different skills.
In terms of handling - specifically offloading, catching, passing - (and this is obviously a generalization) i tend to think that league players overall have a better standard of skill, especially forwards (eg SBW was a lock in league, and now he's probly the best offloading center in union).
Offloading in contact in particular seems to be a more refined skill in league. It just seems to come easier to them.

But I do prefer union as a game. There's more to it. League is kind of simpler, there's less facets to the play, and that bores me at times.

i still reckon the shoulder charge rule is a bit dumb.

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moddeur July 04, 2012 1:54 pm

I play at a quite amateurish level (the lowest level there is here in France), but I am considered to be one of the better tacklers on my team (says a lot about how bad my team is :))
But I don't get 100+kg meat-machines hurled at me in matches, so I can't really compare my technique to what you both are describing above. I mean I do get 100+kg players hurled at me, but they're more on the greasy side than muscular.

I tackle a bit like a soccer goal faced with a penalty shot, that is I slow down before my opponent reaches me, place myself on the side and then hurl myself in one direction (nearly always the correct one :)).
I'm not very tall, but very dense (everyone in my family has heavy bones, my mom even has a medical condition called "bone hyperdensity"). So I use my arms and low centre of gravity to tip and make people fall. My shoulders won't do much in my case :)

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Pretzel July 04, 2012 2:22 pm

I've got to say with all my tackles, I intend to make initial contact with my shoulder... I can still have my arms out and wrap almost instantaneously without needing to "fling" them round... They can go past the ball carriers body and not make any contact until after my shoulder hits first...

I truly believe that technique leaves me less likely to suffer an injury to my arms (although the shoulder does take the brunt of the hit), it also means they will make less, if in fact no more ground once the hit is made (in theory anyway)... This also helps in tryline defending situations. Especially where simply wrapping a player without using your own weight and strength focussed through your shoulder is not enough to stop him before the tryline.

ALL that being said however. I think shoulder charges, much like these and the ones we see in league are not "dumb rules" I think they're relevant and keep the game from becoming a silly bash fest... at least there is still control in union...

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Pretzel July 02, 2012 10:13 am

I don't see what is so "hater" about disliking SBW in this video. He shows complete disrespect to the referee, he shows a complete disregard for the rules, and he is more than happy to continue a dust up and in some way continue to provoke it, in order to defend his "illegal" manoeuvre...

If he wants to shoulder charge, or check (both illegal in the game if you didn't know) then that is fine, but to then try and whine and weasel his way out of it is ridiculous. I (up until a few years ago) was a fan of putting the boot on someone who was on the wrong side. I still do it every now and again to this day (not as frequently as the past due to law changes sadly)... But if the referee pings me for it, I don't stand there mouthing off, looking like a moron and trying to act innocent, Yeup, I did it, why try and deny it... If 100-200 people at a standard home crowd can see it when I play then how many of the tens of thousands of people at this match (if it drew that crowd) saw it on the big screen, or on their tv's at home?

There is no such thing as "Hard rugby", sadly its either rugby or its illegal. When I put the boot on someone it's illegal, if I get a card for it (a yellow once before!) I don't gripe around saying "well it's hard rugby".. I do mention after the match that a couple years ago there would have been no notice of this, but I don't start off saying "I play hard rugby"

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breakaway July 02, 2012 9:15 am

A lot of moralizing going on here. It was a shoulder charge, I've seen a lot worse and plenty of them.. a penalty's fine. The ref did OK, let play go on while the assistant ref kept an eye on things. Then there was a bit of mouthing off and pushing and shoving. No big deal.
As far as SBW's career, start living in the real world, at this level players are moving round all over the place trying to make the most of their few years at the top because it doesn't last for long. They have every right to look after themselves and their families however they want. I don't think the other players are going around muttering about loyalty, they're saying 'good luck' and many of them are wishing they had the talent and drawing power to get the sort of opportunities that SBW is being offered.

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Guy July 02, 2012 1:00 pm

If he keeps this attitude, I will find it harder and harder to enjoy seeing him play.

Imho he is slowly becoming the Christiano Ronaldo of rugby: incredibly skillfull but a huge tosser.

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Canadian content July 02, 2012 4:32 pm

Check the video sledgey, he hits the number 5 twice in a row with a shoulder, albeit he finishes with a weird takedown tackle where he throw him to the ground, illegal as well.

My main problem with him was the chat.

In regards to his loyalty, it hurts him more than anyone else. Perhaps if he'd moved to nz earlier, he may have started the rwc final. Instead, he comes on late, throws a league like shoulder charge and gets a yellow. Only post rwc has he developed into the nz 12.

His constant moving may hurt him again. He said himself, league and union are different games. Going back to it will not help his 2015 rwc chances.

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Pretzel July 02, 2012 11:40 pm

Judging by how much the rules change, who knows what kind of game "Rugby" might be in 2015... and who knows how much it may vary between now and 2015... It says a lot that he "hopes" to help NZ defend the title in 2015... Is that just a dream or an assumption? Surely after leaving the code you should HOPE you're let back into a team, let alone an international team...

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Jon July 03, 2012 1:38 am

It's all worked out Pretzel.
SBW has cleared this all with the NZRFU. It's very similar to what they did with Dan Carter, they let him go to France for a season then he came back. Same as what Australia did with Rocky Elsom, let him go to Ireland for a season, then he came back.

So SBW gets to go to Japan for the money (he'll make at least a million bucks for one season of fairly easy rugby), have a fight or two in boxing, then the NRL (where he came from, what he grew playing and what made him the player he is today - plus he gets a shot at winning an NRL title - very similar to Brad Thorn), and then he comes back with plenty of time to work his way back into the All Blacks and go to the World Cup in 2015.

The thing is, he's a freak of a player. And he is not the first player to do something like this.

Brad Thorn went from league to union, then back to league, then back to union. I don't hear anyone talking shit about him.
Carter went from NZ to France, then came back, and that was fine. Elsom did something similar, and that was ok.

What's the problem with Sonny Bill doing it too (with a couple boxing fights thrown in)?

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Pretzel July 03, 2012 10:14 am

Probably because Brad Thorn and Dan Carter seem like decent "blokes"... Whereas the impression SBW gives off is that he is so far up his own ass that it's hard to know if he's offloading with his hands or his anus...

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Guy July 03, 2012 12:47 pm

That comment just made me laugh out loud behind my desk and nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Classic, thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

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Jon July 04, 2012 8:24 am

Hey fair enough Pretzel, if you really don't like the guy, that's your choice. Pretty subjective and not based on a whole hell of a lot in my opinion, but of course you can think that, and fair play.
But that doesn't mean his going to play league for a year is the wrong thing to do.
Whatever you think of him, what he's doing (or something very like it) has been done before by players who've been in union for longer (players who came from union), many times in the past.

Thorn did the exact same thing, came from league, went to union then went back and came back again. So the actual act of switching codes, if you have a problem with it, you should really criticize Thorn too. If not, then all you can really say is that SBW swore at a ref one time, so you think he's a jerk.

And the NRL move, btw, is not about money. He'd make more in union. It's about winning the NRL title and because he loves league (he came from league after all).

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Pretzel July 04, 2012 5:20 pm

SBW is all about money... I have seen a few interviews with him and most of the time he is on about "making money".. Perhaps all players are like this? I don't know.

As for you saying that other players have done it before, I already addressed that. Brad Thorn has always come across as quite humble, nasty if you're on the wrong side of him during a game, but definitely humble. Carter, again, the guy has had a nasty run in his international career with injuries (a la Jonny Wilkinson), but even though NZ'ers worship the ground he walks on, he still remains (in my opinion) "shocked" by their attitudes towards him, almost dare I say it again... "humble"... "how can they show me so much support, it's incredible".. Whereas SBW comes across as someone who WANTS and craves attention... Almost the kind of character who thinks he should be so much higher than others and would lose in life if he wasn't such a good rugby player... (A Janitor thinking he should be a CEO...)...

SBW can move to the moon and play for the man on the moons rugby team for all I care, but what I am saying is he is flitting around from team to team, code to code, sport to sport, it just doesn't show as much solid commitment to anything in particular other than himself... therefore a somewhat selfish, self centred attitude.. I'm sure he is for most part a nice guy, we apparently saw him checking on Earls the other day, so he is not completely self obsessed and of course has a heart. But I liken him to a boxer, i.e the career is his own to make or break, rather than a team player...

Someone made comparisons between SBW and Gavin Henson, and honestly I can see it, only SBW has more talent to pull it off...

Either way, love him, hate him, dislike him or like him, its anyone and everyones choice...

For the record, I thought Shane Williams and his little "searching for the defence" gesture after a try made him a bit of a cocky little so-and-so as well...

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bill July 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Anybody else see at around 0:15 Jamie MacIntosh strangle and then slap the cheifs player?

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Brandon July 02, 2012 9:22 pm

This looks just like the tackles the 2 Americans got red carded for against Italy!

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BondTr4der July 02, 2012 11:29 pm

Sonny Bill Williams reminds me of Gavin Henson: Massive talent + Bigger ego = total tosser.

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Pretzel July 02, 2012 11:41 pm

Interesting spin, I'd buy that actually, sounds right on the mark...

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BondTr4der July 02, 2012 11:43 pm

I'll add that while I don't see anything other than a penalty for the shoulder shown in the replay, watching it first time around it does look like he goes in for a second bite (because the first time he doesn't have a hold of the guy he's supposed to be tackling) and swings Blue #5 from what looks like something pretty high. To me, it's that second "tackle" / "judo throw" that the opposition seem to have taken offence to.

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breakaway July 03, 2012 2:48 am

On the first tackle, if you actually look at the video, Williams' head and eyes follow the ball and he half pulls out of the hit, he actually stands still and doesn't take another step forward. If he wanted to he could've gone right on through the guy and if there was no wrap I would have no problem with a card. But I'm OK with the penalty although I've seen worse not given.
The second time he tackles the same guy entirely legit and dumps him on his side. How is that not OK? As SBW runs at him, the #5 puts his elbow out, Williams makes hard first contact but I can't see anything high and even you admit only to "what looks like something pretty high". Well I can't see it, none of the refs did, and I don't think you can either. Another Highlander player starts wrestling SBW off the ball and that's when the handbags come out.
A few days ago it was all about what a good guy SBW was by showing concern for an injured Earls, now he's a nasty ego-monster. I don't buy it.

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BondTr4der July 03, 2012 10:47 am

1st tackle at around 0:03 seconds, nothing wrong with it.

2nd tackle at around 0:14 seconds, SBW leads with his left elbow (high), then swings his right arm in to take the guy to ground (again, high). This one deserves a pen.

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breakaway July 03, 2012 3:54 pm

2nd tackle: in the vid that's on my screen SBW wraps his left arm around the guy's upper back and his right around his chest and throws him down. I'll stick with what I posted.

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Full Back July 04, 2012 11:10 am

I think it looked bad because he threw him. The left arm was high in my opinion, if it had been the front of the guys neck it would have been more evident. Not much to it though.

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Fitzy July 03, 2012 1:59 am

Lol....that's a centre manhandling a lock.SBW is an animal.He obviously thought he was back playing league putting that shouder charge on.He should have been shown yellow but I think the touchy was a bit afraid

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dave July 03, 2012 7:57 am

I love how sonny bill fronted up every player, because they all know he's the heavy weight boxing champ of new zealand, and may not mean that much on a grand scale but means a lot on a rugby field

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Guy July 03, 2012 12:52 pm

The only reason not to kick his ass is a possible yellow or read card, which means your team will have to play with one player less.

That's just common sense and has got nothing to do with SBW supposed boxing skills.

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dave July 05, 2012 2:55 am

cool, but that's not my point, i'm talking about how all the front rowers backed off of him and stopped trying to push him, he called their bluffs

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Pretzel July 04, 2012 12:28 am

In all fairness they were probably hoping he was going to do something, he looked like he lost control and a flurry of punches would have probably ended his night, as well as the next few nights with a subsequent ban..

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mylawnow July 03, 2012 12:17 pm

Directly after the comment is made that "no punches were even thrown" SBW immediately whines back "yes there was"...

Act hard and talk tough before turning around and showing that sort of character trait says more about him then the shoulder charges do.

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cheyanqui July 03, 2012 1:21 pm

It was clear that SBW is a league guy -- notice how much he was backchatting the referee and the other guys (both Chiefs and Highlanders) were relatively quiet?

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rugby08 July 03, 2012 5:52 pm

Messam is the captain so isn't going to raise his voice.

The Highlanders guys punched him so yea they're probably keeping quite so they don't get introuble

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MW July 04, 2012 1:52 am

God SBW is a joke, happy to dish out illegal shoulder charges every chance he gets, then wants to start throwing punches when the opponents retaliate. Suck it up mate! I pray for the day he tries this against some of the South African forwards.

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Jon July 04, 2012 8:26 am

Do you really believe the Saffer forwards are better boxers than him?

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dave July 05, 2012 2:59 am

funny stuff eh john?
these meat heads think being big is the all there is too fighting
all people have to do is look at actual fighting,big imposing guys get their asses handed to them but unassuming guys all the time

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Jon July 05, 2012 5:17 am

Yeah, if you follow combat sports you realise that the best guys are usually relatively lean, not big muscle monsters. Speed beats size 95% of the time, and all those muscles just make you tired quicker.
Kind of off track but look at a guy like Junior Dos Santos, the heavyweight champ of the UFC. He straight up destroys guys who have twenty kilos on him and way more muscle mass, because he's got better speed and technique.

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Pretzel July 05, 2012 1:39 pm

Bit like that Bjorn Basson try video, he is a small player and will no doubt be the target of a bruiser. God help him if he gets caught as the chances of him getting smashed are 99.999%, but the chances of him actually GETTING caught are slim.

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Full Back July 04, 2012 10:45 am

I wouldn't go so far as to say SBW is a joke, he's achieved more than most, and to be honest I don't find him as arrogant as people are pointing out. Maybe I've only seen the good interviews. He gets noticed on the pitch, stands out and so yeah, if he has an off day it gets blown out of proportion, but I've seen worse.
I think (the Beast aside) most Saffer forwards would think it over a bit before trying to land a punch on Sonny.
Watch the Ireland game (the 22-19 one) and see how he calmy catches Healy's hand and lets the huff blow over. Level headed in my opinion.
Nobody's criticising the #5 who runs in looking for trouble by the he just a really nice bloke who's never played league? ;)

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