Sonny Bill steps up to stop the Kerevi freight train

International
AAP
by AAP

Sonny Bill Williams will have rampaging Wallabies opposite Samu Kerevi in his sights when he lines up for his 10th and probably final Bledisloe Cup Test for the All Blacks.

Former NRL star Williams is uncontracted next year and continued to keep journalists guessing this week about his 2020 plans ahead of Saturday's return match at Eden Park.

The 34-year-old's focus is squarely on turning around New Zealand's fortunes following their nightmare loss in Perth, which he sat out, while also making a last-ditch bid for World Cup selection.

"You're always on trial and if you don't think you are, then you'll be slipping," said Williams, who is fighting to attend his third world tournament.

"For myself, I need to be where my feet are and play my best footy because we've got four other world class midfielders in the team. They want the same thing."

An injury-ravaged season has taken an upward turn with successive 80-minute provincial hitouts this month, leaving Williams confident he can slot into a midfield that will be missing injured outside centre Jack Goodhue.


One of Williams' chief tasks will be shutting down Kerevi, whose prodigious Super Rugby form for the Queensland Reds continued into Australia's three Rugby Championship Tests.

Kerevi unfurled his usual numbers in Perth, running for 88 metres, making three clean breaks and beating five defenders, including a memorable bump-off on Beauden Barrett to set up Nic White's try.

Williams' strength in the latter part of his 52-Test career has been his defence and he said he'd be well prepared for the Kerevi freight train.

"Any team that plays a side that has a player like Samu in it (has to)," he said.

"Just the way he's played all year, leading line breaks and tackle breaks throughout Super Rugby ... he's one that we have to watch out for this weekend."

Wiliams said he suffered on the sidelines while watching the Kiwis lose in Perth.

"It was tough. From a personal point of view, you want to be a part of it but you also want the boys to do well. It was a tough game to watch but I was proud of the boys and the ticker they showed. They hung in there and showed some fight as All Blacks do," he said.

A return to provincial footy over the last few weeks has helped Williams re-calibrate and remember to enjoy his footy.

"When you come into an environment like this; there's a lot of pressure and it's high stakes footy," Williams said. "To go back there [to Counties], you can just enjoy being around the boys and playing with your mates.

"Obviously the [All Black] boys are hurting [after loss last weekend] … but we have to perk ourselves up and smile. For myself, that's what I'm about because I have got in that place where everything's serious – it's footy, footy, footy. And you lose the enjoyment aspect."

The Wallabies take on New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday August 17, kicking off at 5.45pm AEST, with the Wallaroos-Black Ferns kicking off at 3pm AEST. The Wallabies are LIVE on Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and RUGBY.com.au RADIO while the Wallaroos will be shown on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.