Midfield battle awaits boxer Williams
Thursday 11 November 2010
Sonny Bill Williams is relishing a toe-to-toe midfield battle as New Zealand take on Scotland on Saturday and is eager for a reunion with Rory Lamont.
The 25-year-old former rugby league international, who will win his second cap at Murrayfield, played alongside Scotland wing Lamont at Toulon, his first rugby union club, in France's Top 14 championship before returning to New Zealand with Canterbury, making his debut in September.
His first All Blacks cap came last week in the 26-16 win over England and Williams is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Lamont after retaining a place in the starting XV.
"He's a fit, big man, Rory," said Williams, a part-time boxer.
"I'll be looking forward to catching up with him after the game.
"He's a good man, you might have to tell him to take it easy on me."
Williams, who stands at 6ft 3in (1.91m) and weighs 17 stones (108kg), will line up at inside centre, moving inside from his position at Twickenham, and is hoping for a full-on confrontation with Graeme Morrison, who concedes just three kilograms to his opposite number.
"Hopefully he runs it straight and we'll run it straight back at him and we'll see how we go," added Williams.
The encounter will be the 28th meeting in 105 years between the teams, but Scotland are still to beat the All Blacks.
Williams, though, is wary of the hosts, who are unbeaten in their last four Tests and defeated Australia last autumn.
"They've got a strong backline from what I've seen - they like to throw the ball around," he added.
"The game's changed a bit, most teams play the counter attack and play with a bit of width, so we've got to be on our toes as a backline defensively.
"We've got to look to try and express ourselves and take the opportunities."
Williams was described as 'Superman' ahead of his debut with England but is unfazed by the hype and aware of the need to continually improve to stay in the All Blacks line-up.
"I just try to keep it simple," he said.
"It's been like that since I got back to New Zealand. If I start dwelling on those kind of things I won't get to where I need to get to.
"There's a few things that I've gone over in the video with the coaches that I need to improve on - to express myself a bit more, be confident and do what I do - and I'm definitely looking to do that this week.
"Hopefully I'll be a bit fitter than last week - it was definitely a step up in intensity, but I feel that a week on I'll be a lot better.
"I've been trying to do the basics really well and hopefully I'll take that on."
As for the change of position, Williams does not believe it will have too great an impact.
"It's just another number on the back of the jersey," he said.
"I've played the majority of my time at Canterbury in that position, but it's still the same thing, it's still the same pressures and I definitely have to perform up there.
"Any time you get a start in the All Blacks is something special."
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