SBW delays decision on future
August 29, 2011
Sonny Bill faces a battle to get back into the All Blacks' midfield © Getty Images
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has postponed any decision over where his future lies till after the World Cup expressing the need to be solely focussed on the tournament.
Williams had said he intended to let the Blues and Chiefs know before the World Cup started on September 9 which Super Rugby franchise he would play for next year. But he told media at the official presentation of the All Blacks World Cup squad in Auckland today that he didn't want to make any quick decisions.
"A man's entitled to change his mind from time to time, and I don't think I'll be making a decision on my future until after the World Cup," he said. "People have been pushing me to make a decision but for me it's about doing what's best for myself and for my family and at this stage I won't be making a decision until after the World Cup, and I'll just be concentrating now on the World Cup and trying to get a spot."
Williams said he could still stay in New Zealand but he did not want to make any hasty decisions. "I've spoken to (Blues coach) Pat Lam and I've spoken to (new Chiefs assistant coach) Wayne Smith and told them how I'm thinking, so everything's all good.
"At this stage it's all about the World Cup and I don't want anything going on outside of it to take away from that. I just really want to concentrate on these next eight weeks."
A former rugby league star, Williams was a big-name signing for the All Blacks last year but his future has come under increasing scrutiny after he could not oust the in-form Ma'a Nonu for the No.12 jersey and last week he was also left off the reserves bench for the test against the Wallabies at Brisbane. His omission prompted a mixed reaction, with his friend, Australian boxer Anthony Mundine, tweeting that it was a poor decision.
Williams said his rivalry with Nonu was friendly and was helping both players, but he hoped to get a chance to prove himself. "Me and Ma'a are close mates and I know that by pushing him on the training paddock he's pushing me as well, we're all vying for positions," he said. "You're not rated one of the best teams in the world for no reason, so there's competition there.
"One person's going to play, one person's going to miss out, it's just the way it is. I need to just keep doing what I'm doing, keep backing myself, and when I get that shot, take it." Coach Graham Henry is relaxed about Williams' delaying his decision, saying it is important the issue does not become a distraction.
"He's got to sort out his own future, but this is a team deal and we've just got to concentrate as 30 players playing well in this rugby World Cup, and individually people have got to make decisions," Henry said. "I don't think we should be distracted by those sort of things."
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