SBW faces an uncertain reception in Sydney

By Daniel Gilhooly, NZ Newswire Updated August 13, 2012, 2:54 pm

The All Blacks and Sonny Bill Williams are reunited at last but uncertainty surrounds what sort of reception the game-breaking inside centre will get in Sydney during Saturday's Bledisloe Cup test.

Williams joined the squad in Auckland on Sunday night after clearance arrived several days later than expected from his Japanese club, Panasonic.

He was declared fit to play the first two Rugby Championship Tests against Australia this month.

Williams trained fully on Monday and assistant coach Ian Foster gave every indication his name would feature when the team is unveiled on Thursday due to the absence of injured outside centre Conrad Smith.

Williams was exceptional in the three Tests against Ireland in June, followed by the Chiefs' charge to the Super Rugby title.

"We're pretty excited he's here. He brings three games' experience in June, which enables us to have a bit of continuity," Foster told journalists.

"And he brings a lot of confidence himself given the way he's played in 2012."

Foster said there was ample time to get Williams up to speed for his 18th Test and his first on Australian soil.

Interest surrounds how Williams will be received in Sydney, given his controversial mid-contract walkout on the Bulldogs NRL club four years ago. He has since played rugby union in France and New Zealand for two years each.

"It (Williams' availability) is good for us, that's all we're focusing on," Foster said.

"Wherever he goes, there's usually a bit of news going with it."

The All Blacks were buoyed at training on Monday by the return of their rested Chiefs contingent, along with three non-squad members to boost numbers - Hurricanes first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Chiefs lock Craig Clarke.

Everyone in the squad was fit for selection, including world class No.8 Kieran Read, who had overcome rib difficulties.

Foster admitted left wing was one of the hardest selection choices, with Julian Savea, Hosea Gear and Ben Smith all strong contenders.

Another challenge was filtering the game plan to the players at a speed which was easy to digest.

"It's exactly the same challenge as we had in June. We can't try to go in too complex and we can't over-train or put too much information in.

"Rugby is a simple game but clearly when you're playing Aussie you need a few more options up your sleeve."

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  1. 01:26pm Tuesday 14th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    @ Will - must be shrt for Willy Wanker. You missed the sarcasm re Ranger and Egypt soccer deaths. How's it feel to be a bonehead Hobbit ?

  2. Will09:46pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    @Alan, I see you have competely side-tracked me & gone on a different tangent. Where is your comeback to my mentioning your beloved 70+ deaths wonder sport, soccer? You seem to have turned on the tunnel visioned goggles. As if that issue was too hard to swallow. So now you take a different direction, "Auz are more intelligent?" You sad pathetic smaller than smallest balls owner.

  3. 09:31pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Allan with a second "L" for Loser / Bozo the chimp/ Crusty the Clown you got so many nicknames bet you never had this much attn given to you, not even by your wife and kids.

  4. Phillip08:53pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    if he is going to only play 2 games.... you might as well give the postition to someone who will be there alot longer..... :(

  5. il Duce08:24pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    I reckon SBW gives a rats rrrs about what reception he'll get. The Wannabies are more worried about what they'll get from him..and so they should be.

  6. 08:16pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Hey Il Doucebag - you are starting to show some better sarcasm now. Congrats and keep taking your intelligence pills (teh heavy duty ones) - there has been some slow improvement. Pass some onto Phillip. What has an IQ of 2= Il Doucebag and Phillip's combined. Actually I enjoy the banter and no hard feelings.

  7. 08:10pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Foster says : "Rugby is a simple game but clearly when you're playing Aussie you need a few more options up your sleeve." Thats because Aussies are much more intelligent

  8. il Duce08:09pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Really Anal..don't tell porkies we know they only make one of a kind when they make kimonos, and tom told Stu you had it...must be how you know the look of it,eh!

  9. 07:41pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Why cant we post comments on Ranger the Danger ??

  10. 07:35pm Monday 13th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    @Tom. Wait till the Sydney crowd sees SBW in his elastic, made in Japan, Kimono with built in padded bra.

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