Deans: All Blacks will miss SBW
August 26, 2012
Sonny Bill Williams is set for Japan and then Australia © PA Photos
Under-fire Wallabies coach Robbie Deans insists the All Blacks will be severely hurt by the loss of centre Sonny Bill Williams.
The centred produced a man-of-the-match performance against Australia in his last match for the All Blacks for the foreseeable future. He is departing for Japan before going back to the NRL in Australia, and Deans believes the loss will be a huge blow for the All Blacks.
Conrad Smith is set to return for the All Blacks' next Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas in Wellington while Ma'a Nonu remains a big influence in their midfield. But Deans, who is has come in for heavy criticism following successive losses to the All Blacks, says Williams is irreplaceable.
"He's one of those players who impacts on the people around him," said Deans. "He's a bloke who just loves to compete, exudes belief in his ability to not only compete but prevail. He takes people with him, they run off him, he creates momentum, he creates excitement.
"Players chase in the ... knowledge that he will provide something for them. Whether it be getting beyond the gain line and providing the ability to play or whether it be the opportunity to run onto a ball with zero resistance in front of you.
"Players like that make a big difference to teams."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin