SBW targets home Test bow
July 26, 2011
Sonny Bill Williams trains ahead of New Zealand's clash with South Africa © Getty Images
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams is hopeful his extra physicality could earn him a home Test debut against South Africa in Wellington.
The rugby league convert, who has yet to play a Tri-Nations Test, believes his background in the 13-man code has him well-placed to match the aggression the under-strength South Africans, still smarting after a 39-20 defeat by Australia, are set to bring in the Test.
"I love to play with a bit of physicality and that's what the South Africans bring so if I play this week I'll be really keen to mix it with the big boys. The South African teams are just massive, massive men and just bring that intense physical challenge and that's what I love," said the 25-year-old.
Williams made the All Blacks' northern hemisphere tour last year on the back of a handful of games for Canterbury in the national provincial championship and this year, after a diet of Super 15 rugby, feels he is better prepared to make the step up to international rugby.
"I think I've earned my stripes a lot more this time around after a pretty good Super 15 season so my confidence levels are high," he said.
The former Canterbury Bulldog was criticised by Springboks coach Pieter de Villiers for his playing style during the Super 15, but Williams was not reading much into the outspoken coach's comments.
"I've always had my detractors, my critics, but as soon as I start worrying about them then I might take the focus off what I want to do and what I want to achieve. I can't really dwell on negatives or else I won't get to where I want to get to," he said.
Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava and Tony Woodcock all took a full part in training on Tuesday as they continue their comebacks from long-term injuries and are scheduled to make returns in the coming weeks in the national provincial championship.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup