All Blacks forced to wait on Williams
August 10, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams celebrates the Chiefs' Super Rugby triumph © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has revealed that they are still waiting for clearance from Sonny Bill Williams' new side the Wild Knights to allow the talismanic centre to play for the Kiwis in the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks played two 20 minute matches against Auckland and Counties Manukau on Friday but Williams was absent. Hansen claims that he is "99% sure" that Williams will be able to link up with the Kiwis ahead of their tournament opener against the Wallabies on August 18.
Hansen told reporters: "There's no point us panicking. We'll have it sorted by hopefully the weekend and then he'll be into it."
The tournament will be Hansen's first outing as All Blacks coach and he is relishing the test of taking on Australia, South Africa and Argentina and trying to build on their 2011 World Cup success.
"It's going to be a really, really big challenge from a player point of view but I think there is just as big a challenge for ourselves about 'How do we get better?' both individually and collectively," Hansen said. "If we can crack that nut then we have got enough talent to be a pretty handy side."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside