Imagine Rugby Blogs

Williams lives up to billing

New Zealand centre shows glimpses of what he can do

Posted Nov 11, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

Sonny Bill Williams

In the build up to the England versus New Zealand game, there was focus on one guy and one guy in particular and that was All Blacks debutant Sonny Bill Williams.
But did he live up to the billing he received or was it all hot air?
Described as more devastating than the brilliant Jonah Lomu, the 6ft 4in, 17st centre had a lot to do to impress me to be honest. When you receive that hype you need to prove that it isn’t just that, hype. And to be fair to Williams, he showed glimpses of the devastation he could cause teams.
He created one try for the All Blacks with a great carry and offload and he was involved in a few good things for the visitors but I felt he could have done more.
No doubt it was a nerve wracking, intimidating first match for him – in fact there can’t be many venues as daunting as Twickenham, especially when the crowd are in full voice like they were on Saturday.
I believe he handled that aspect of the game pretty well but in the first 10 to 15 minutes I don’t really recall him being involved and whether that was simply because England were so good and executed their game plan brilliantly in that time, I’m not sure.
The thing I was particularly impressed with was that he was prepared to run with the ball in hand. Many people who come into such strong line up often feel the need to offload the ball at every given opportunity but he didn’t. He was confident enough in his own ability to carry the fight himself and I was thoroughly impressed with this.
By the time the World Cup comes round next year, I think he will be one of the players who will be feared most and will be one of the stars of the tournament. Having just changed from league to union, getting used to the different styles can take time and time is what he’s going to get.
I can see Williams being one of the best and most devastating players in the world by this time next year.

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