On Sunday night the All Blacks selectors confirmed what even my Mum could have told you – that league convert Sonny Bill Williams would be taken on the end of year tour, the defacto dress rehearsal for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
I mean, why in God’s name would you bring the guy back from France, pay him what apparently makes him the third highest earning rugby player in the country (after McCaw and Carter), and leave him to languish in the ITM Cup with the RWC less than a year away? Why would you ignore his potential as a brand, with the game increasingly competing for our entertainment dollar against league, and increasingly, soccer? And perhaps most importantly – why would you ignore his awesome, awesome potential as a matchwinning gamebreaker?
Apart from an injury impacted start (and a poor decision concerning a ski trip), SBW has been really quite spectacular forCanterbury. He is phenomenally strong, has an almost unbelievable ability to draw defenders and offload in contact, and perhaps most importantly he has improved with each passing week. He perhaps still struggles a little operating within Union’s defensive patterns, but surely there is no better place or time for him to work on his defense than in the All Black team environment? Continue reading