SBW scores first try in Japan
Sonny Bill Williams (AFP)
Tokyo - Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams showed some of his worth by scoring his first try in three games after a high-priced move to Japanese rugby.
He also threw in a handful of his trademark offload passes, although his Panasonic Wild Knights went down 32-22 to Toshiba Brave Lupus in Tokyo on Saturday, in the fourth round of the 2012-2013 Top League season.
"It's always disappointing when you lose," the 27-year-old New Zealand superstar said after the game before 12 300 spectators at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.
"It was good to get across the tryline but I was really disappointed and frustrated at the end," he was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.
Williams, who helped the All Blacks win the World Cup at home last year, left his national side and Chiefs to earn a reported $1.2 million for playing 12 games in Japan. Next year he will return to Australia's National Rugby League.
"Toshiba played a forwards game and played well. We just have to be smarter," said Williams, who doubles part-time as a professional heavyweight boxing, according to Kyodo.
"We let in some soft tries and have to go back to the drawing board and listen to the coaches."
Toshiba ran in five tries against three for Panasonic.
Williams, who sat out the season opener and assisted a try in his Japan debut in the second round, drew a huge roar from the biggest crowd of the season when he grounded the ball from a planned line-out in the 24th minute, cutting Panasonic's deficit to 8-10, with a conversion putting the game level.
But Toshiba spurted ahead and never looked back, with former All Black Steven Bates scoring his second try four minutes after half-time.
Bates and veteran Hitoshi Ono combined to put in a great forward effort that limited Williams to defensive duties for most of the game.
Panasonic, the runners-up to Suntory Sungoliath in the Top League and the All-Japan championship last season, stood fifth on the league table with two wins and two losses. Suntory kept their lead with four straight wins for 20 points, including bonus points.
Toshiba also remained undefeated with four wins for 18 points.