Sonny Bill on show in New Zealand - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sonny Bill on show in New Zealand

By Daniel Gilhooly 04/08/2010 02:01:40 PM Comments (0)

Sonny Bill Williams officially enters the consciousness of the All Blacks coaches this weekend, the first of numerous recuperating stars hoping to shoehorn a place in the crack New Zealand backline.

Assistant coach Wayne Smith will trek to his old club ground of Sheldon Park on the outskirts of Christchurch on Saturday - five hours before the Test against Wallabies kicks off - to watch former league star Williams play his first game of rugby in New Zealand since choosing to chase an All Blacks' jersey.

Smith downplayed his own movements, insisting he would have gone to watch his beloved club team Belfast play anyway.

"They're dear to my heart," he said.

"Sonny's presence will add a bit of spice to the occasion, they're picking pretty big bar-takings afterwards."

The former Kiwis second-rower has recovered from minor knee surgery in June and could yet play for new province Canterbury against Manawatu in a national championship match at Palmerston North on Thursday night if they suffer further injuries to their depleted backline.

Either way, Williams falls into a sizeable group of quality backs trying to force their way into the white-hot All Blacks squad to tour Hong Kong and Europe later this year.

An obvious midfield candidate is Richard Kahui, due to return from a shoulder problem this month, while it was put to Smith that injured outside backs Isaia Toeava (hip) and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu (shoulder) would thrive in New Zealand's increased focus on speed and width.

"There's probably some nervous players sitting around the country who are world class players and would be dying to get into this team, particularly the way it's playing at the moment," Smith said.

"We all know what those two players can do so it will be an interesting time for the selectors."

Toeava is expected to play a role in Auckland's national provincial championship campaign but Waikato winger Sivivatu's recovery will continue through the domestic competition and see him miss the All Blacks' tour.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news