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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Crowd Goes Wild bids farewell to Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams played his final game for the All Blacks on the weekend, for now anyway. Against the Wallabies he went up another level, earning the respect of the naysayers. Japan beckons though, and then he's off the to the NRL, but will he be back?

Williams has made giant strides in the few years he's been playing professional rugby union. Each time he plays, he gets better, and on Saturday he pulled out the full bag of tricks.

Its no coincidence that his trophy cabinet is overflowing with achievements. Forget about his boxing title, that's still up for discussion, but in union, he's won pretty much all he can; the Ranfurly Shiled, ITM Cup, Super Rugby title, Bledisloe Cup, and of course, the Rugby World Cup.

His ability to offload the ball was his main feature, but the maturity he's shown of late - knowing when to hold on and when to release a supporting runner - has made him a lethal threat in the midfield. You can only imagine what kind of damage he will cause in Japan over the next season.

While his loyalty has been questioned, the irony is that he is leaving the country that embraced him to play rugby league based on a handshake deal he made three years ago.

"I wish I could say ‘nah, I'll stay'. It is pretty emotional," he said after the Bledisloe Cup victory.

"A lot of people are hitting me up, asking why I'm leaving, but three years ago I didn't even know if I could play rugby. It was good to have the security of knowing in three years' time I had a job in rugby league. Now I understand rugby I've got the utmost respect for the game."

His parting comment is that while he'll be lost to the game for a while, he may well add to his tally of 19 Test caps in the not too distant future.

"If things don't work out over there as well as I hope then maybe I might be back here, but who knows what is going to happen?" he added.

Coach Steve Hansen had the final word, touching on SBW's critics, and his possible return to rugby.

"It's not his fault that he's pretty good at boxing and people want to watch him do that. It's not his fault he's good at league and it's not his fault that people want to put a contract in front of him.

"I'd be confident enough to say that I don't think it's the last time he will play for the All Blacks, either. I think he will come back," Hansen said.

Below is an amusing short piece from New Zealand show The Crowd Goes Wild, featuring James McOnie spending a bit of time with Williams before his departure.

Do you think his performance against the Wallabies was his best yet for the All Blacks?

Posted at 11:08 am | 7 comments

The All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup 2012

Sonny Bill Williams off to Japan then returns to the NRL

Sonny Bill Williams puts the shoulder in vs the Highlanders

The best of Sonny Bill Williams for Canterbury in 2010

Sonny Bill Williams finishes off a slick Canterbury team try

Posted in Funnies

Viewing 7 comments

Guy August 29, 2012 2:13 pm

Does anyone know how long a his NRL contract is going to run? He is giving the impression that, if things don't work out for him, he is going to be back sooner rather than later.

Anyways: all the best of luck to Sonny!

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Kieran August 29, 2012 10:45 pm

His NRL contract is one-year, he only ever signs one year contracts.

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Rugby August 31, 2012 3:18 am

Hand off to the face on the little kid

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Pretzel August 31, 2012 12:50 pm

I enjoyed the reporter more than SBW....That hand off was hilarious!

I just find SBW is too big for his boots.. He has the talent to back up his "attitude" but then I prefer someone like Brad Thorn who has an unbelievable amount of achievement in his life yet is not "too cool for school" which is the impression I get from SBW...

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WobblyWallaby September 02, 2012 12:25 pm

Well Pretzel luckily not many people care for your opinion...

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Pretzel September 03, 2012 11:00 am

Actually a lot of people agree with me about SBW. Of course a lot of people disagree. But then is it not a joy to live in a world where we can have opinions?

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