Williams not thinking about World Cup
June 16, 2011
Williams has shown signs of being back to his former imperious self this season © Getty Images
All Black lock Ali Williams is putting thoughts of this year's World Cup to one side in a bid to secure the Blues a place in the knock-out stages of Super Rugby.
Williams last appeared for the All Blacks at the end of 2008, but produced a stand-out performance against the Crusaders last weekend which will have reminded Graham Henry of his capabilities. Williams, who spent the earlier part of the year on loan at English club Nottingham in an attempt to regain match fitness, has had a bad run of injuries but with the World Cup around the corner he may yet force his way back into the reckoning.
Brad Thorn and Tom Donnelly seem favourite to form the second-row partnership having started eight times for the All Blacks in 2010 although the latter has struggled with injury of late. Other potential options include Anthony Boric and Sam Whitelock but Williams boasts 61 caps and has appeared at the World Cup in 2003 and 2007. However, the 30-year old is trying to put thoughts of the Tri-Nations and World Cup to the back of his mind. "To be honest, if you start thinking about it, you go backwards," he said. "What will be, will be. I can only control the controllables and that's this weekend."
The Blues face the Highlanders in Auckland on Friday and will hope to end a four-match losing streak. The Blues lost 23-16 to their Canterbury-based rivals last time out but a home semi-final is still within their grasp should results go their way - but they could also slip out of the picture altogether.
The 30-year-old Williams refused to dwell on his latest performance, commenting, "It was all right, but there's still a lot to work on. There's still errors that you probably wouldn't see just watching as a spectator, but you would more as a coach. That was last week.
"This week has got to be better again. We're week by week. Last week was last week, and this week we're facing the Highlanders. We're as good as gold. We're excited and we're keen to go."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action