Sonny Bill Williams quotes Malcolm X as he hits out at critics

All Blacks centre turns 34 on Saturday but has been retained in Hansen’s RWC squad

New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams in action during the Rugby Championship draw with the Springboks. Photograph: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams in action during the Rugby Championship draw with the Springboks. Photograph: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

 

Sonny Bill Williams has fired a broadside at media for reporting that his position in the All Blacks squad is “under pressure” ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

Williams, who turns 34 on Saturday and has struggled with injuries in the last two seasons, was retained in Steve Hansen’s trimmed-down squad on Wednesday but rested for the final Rugby Championship match against Australia in Perth next week.

With New Zealand boasting a slew of fit, high-quality centres including Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape and Anton Lienert-Brown, the local media have questioned whether Hansen needs to take a chance on twice World Cup winner Williams.

Williams, who will be sent back to provincial rugby for the next two weekends before returning to the squad for the Wallabies Test in Auckland, made it clear he was tired of the speculation.

“And for those that say I’m under pressure playing a game that I enjoy. Get your priorities right,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Look at what’s going on in the world. Starving children, the single mother raising 3 kids, the atrocities refugees are facing around the world, racism. This is what I call pressure.”

Williams later made a cryptic tweet about media leaks.

“I find it very interesting when so called “private” conversations end up in the media,” he wrote, adding a quote from rights activist Malcolm X.

“I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong. Than the one who comes to me as an angel and is nothing but a devil” - Malcom X”.

Williams missed a lot of rugby for his Super Rugby side Auckland Blues this season after having knee surgery but returned to the test arena in the starting number 12 jersey in the 16-16 draw against South Africa in Wellington last Saturday.

Renowned for his crisp offloads, Williams tallied none against the Springboks, recorded no linebreaks nor beaten defenders and ran only 14 metres with the ball.

Playing outside him, Goodhue ran 56 metres and scored a try while making two linebreaks and beating seven defenders.

Hansen defended Williams’s quiet game, saying he was just happy to see him emerge unscathed.

“He hasn’t played a lot of rugby and was rusty so we won’t get too judgmental about his rugby performance, the fact was his body held together. That was encouraging,” Hansen said after the Boks test.

Williams’s Twitter blast drew a sour response from some New Zealand pundits.

“Honestly Sonny, yes there are people struggling in the world and yes we care about them,” former New Zealand cricket international Mark Richardson said on The AM Show, a TV chat-show.

“But you are an All Black. Get over yourself and let people in this country talk what they like to talk and that is rugby.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.