Rugby World Cup 2011

Kirton: SBW on wing at RWC

2011-07-06 10:42
Sonny Bill Williams (File)





Sydney - Sonny Bill Williams should be played on the right wing at the Rugby World Cup and has the potential to have a similar impact on opposition defences as Jonah Lomu did, according to former All Blacks selector Earle Kirton.

There has been much debate about whether Williams or Ma'a Nonu should wear the All Blacks No 12 jersey this season, but Kirton suggests the selectors should think outside the square to accommodate both players.

"You might think it's from left field, but SBW should be considered on the right wing," he said on Monday.

"If you have Sonny Bill ghosting across the back of Ma'a Nonu and then entering the backline the defence won't know what to do.

"With Jonah Lomu we used to say he scored tries without the ball because he took out so many defenders as a decoy, and I think Sonny Bill could have the same effect from the wing.

"You would have Nonu and SBW to deal with and with Dan Carter at flyhalf and Conrad Smith running wide it would be a nightmare [for defences]."

Kirton, who was an All Blacks selector in 1988 and again from 1992 to 1995 when Lomu was picked for the Rugby World Cup in South Africa, believed Williams would quickly adapt to the wing.

His power would be complemented by the pace of Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sean Maitland or Hosea Gear on the left wing.

Kirton, who played 13 Tests at flyhalf from 1963 to 1970, still believes the New Zealand Rugby Union should have done more to bring former All Black Nick Evans back to the country.

"He would still be the second-best flyhalf in the world. He has more control over the game than [Quade] Cooper. I think Cooper is certainly stronger on attack, but he doesn't defend that well and Evans does and he has more control with the boot."

Kirton said similar attributes would see him pick Colin Slade ahead of Aaron Cruden as Dan Carter's backup.

And he is also adamant Blues halfback Alby Mathewson should not be discounted despite the strong form of Crusaders No 9 Andy Ellis.

"I have an inkling for Mathewson. He's the best passer in the country off the ground with quick ball and I think with Carter controlling him he would be able to say I want the ball now ... he's also the quickest guy over 20 metres of any of the halfback candidates."

 

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