All Blacks' jokes fall flat

2011-10-19 12:01

Auckland - The Williams and Williams vaudeville act fell flat.

VIDEO: Williams and Williams comedy act falls flat

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams and lock Ali Williams arrived at a news conference on Wednesday with a carefully rehearsed routine designed to lighten the mood four days out from New Zealand's Rugby World Cup final against France.

But when the act received only glares of disapproval, Williams and Williams reverted to normal, showing they're better at sincerity than at comedy and painting a vivid picture of an All Blacks team on the cusp of history.

The Williams's, who are not related, began the news conference by pretending to interpret for each other, whispering translations of questions, then providing only the briefest of answers. The act continued to audible groans from the audience until the players were reminded that a New Zealand public desperate to end a long World Cup drought would expect a professional approach before such an important match.

Ali Williams already has a well-established reputation as something of a joker, once turning up to an All Blacks training session dressed in a spiderman suit. When he answered questions seriously, the veteran lock was engaging, providing clear insights into the mindset of the All Blacks players ahead of what may be a life-changing match.

"I think if you're too relaxed then you can overlook the little things, the intricacies of the game but if you're not relaxed enough you get too tense and you don't enjoy the moment," Ali Williams said. "I know some of the guys are a bit frustrated (with the joking) but we're just trying to enjoy the week, we want to have fun and ... come Sunday night it will take care of itself and the best team will win."

Ali Williams said a World Cup victory would mean as much to the seasoned members of the All Blacks team as it would to the rookies, for differing reasons. Most of the veterans had experience of New Zealand's quarter-final loss to France in 2007 and that was a major motivation at this tournament. The younger players drew their inspiration from other sources but, collectively, the All Blacks players were equally determined to win.

"I think it's new for us all but I think we're all good enough to deal with the week in all of its individual aspects," he said.

"This is different. Training (sessions) are probably a little bit lighter because the reality is," it is a make-or-break match, he added. "That's the reality of how we're looking at it.

"I don't think it changes for me or for the younger guys. For me it's the stuff before that makes this so enjoyable, for the younger guys maybe it's small things like their adrenaline and their focus. It hasn't been such a long road but it still means such as much."

Williams has never experienced in his nine years as an All Black the level of support the New Zealand team had enjoyed throughout the World Cup.

"I don't think you can put it into words to be honest," he said. "I've never seen the country like this in my life ... this is just another world. I haven't had to pay for one breakfast at my local cafe yet, which is pretty brilliant.

"The flags on the cars, the excitement of people getting into it ... I think the reality is once again they haven't focused too much on the result. They've focused on the whole event and for Kiwis that's pretty special and I think we can probably walk away from this and learn as well, regardless of what happens at the weekend."

Williams said the atmosphere at Eden Park last weekend, when New Zealand beat Australia 20-6 in their semi-final, was "the best I've ever been in."

"The reality is when people are roaring like that you don't miss a tackle, you've got that extra half a centimeter in a stride," he said. "It's just mind-blowing the noise that's generated and the reality is it does things for you when you're playing that you can't explain."

Sonny Bill Williams said he had also found the fan support beyond his experience in any part of his sporting career, in rugby, rugby league or boxing. He said the All Blacks were well aware of the expectations they are carrying.

"I think everyone understands that and I think that's what we've embraced as a team, that the whole of New Zealand is watching us and loving us and wanting us to do really well," he said. "We all know that as a team and as individuals as well. You can just see it as we walk down the street. The amount of support we've got has been crazy and it's been really cool to be a part of that, something we'll all cherish for the rest of our lives."

Ali Williams said the All Blacks now have to harness their support to round off a strong campaign with a giant performance against France.

"It's about stepping up another level," he said. "Last week's performance won't be good enough.

"I don't care what you think or what you've seen in the last weeks, they'll be a completely different side. They'll be a team that's possessed, they'll bring everything to us and if we're not at that level and better, then we'll walk away with nothing.

"For us this means everything and we've got to give everything."

* RWC final odds on BET.CO.ZA: New Zealand vs France


  • Michael - 2011-10-19 12:16

    hmmmmmm, okes are getting very nervous about choking in another world cup!!!!!!

  • Inhlanzi - 2011-10-19 12:31

    So SBW is a rugby player, boxer and now comedian...and he's no good at any of it, Jack of all trades hey

      Celliers - 2011-10-19 13:01

      I have never heard of Inhanzi playing rugby at the highest level in a World Cup Final, or of Inhanzi fighting in boxing ring as amateur of professional.... but I have heard of Inanzi trying his hand at comedian for questioning a very talented young athlete for enjoying himself on a variety of levels in life....Come on give the lad his due. He is still young but he is certainly a very talented rugby player.

      Inhlanzi - 2011-10-19 13:10

      Either you've been living under a rock, or you're deaf

      Bok - 2011-10-19 21:24

      Really you would have in your team tomorrow. You have no backs in your team with any ideas on how to attack,and score trys

  • Jerhone - 2011-10-19 12:44

    you can step up any level you weeesh,we frenshh not woreeed ,a pack of gauliose, a few frogs legs, with a sliver of garleek we les blues are redee to go

      mervyn.mayer - 2011-10-19 14:13

      est en bouteilles de vin rouge

  • roly.clulow - 2011-10-19 13:01

    multi purpose Williams. I think the nerves are starting to test some of the players already

      John - 2011-10-19 13:58

      Beats the hell out of all the misery I'm reading about in the Republic.

  • Barry - 2011-10-19 13:14

    Choke !

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 15:06

      Awesome comment Baz!!! Wow, you should be the next jumping goats new coach, so much insight.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 15:48

      Here's a joke for you Bluey; Why do Saffas drink out of saucers? Because they got NO cups

      StinkyPu - 2011-10-19 16:04

      excellent retort Sam, go get em.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 16:56

      @Bluey, TN, Bledisloe and Freedom cups are great cups as are Super 14 cups, at least you have curry cups I guess, what's the curry cup taste like, I wouldn't know because it's not played in NZ, does it taste like curry?

      Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 17:19

      @ sam (oan), wow you are a comedian, actually we have 2 Web Ellis cups, & you, none!, by your reasoning.

      mervyn.mayer - 2011-10-19 18:07

      @Sam I say this again read the stats: SA 2 wins in 5 W/Cups= 40% success NZ 2 wins in 7 W/Cups ( give you the benefit of the doubt for this one) = 28.6 % so in case your maths is bad. The saucer drinking SAFFAS at least have a better hit rate.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 18:29

      @pooey and merve the swerve, have a look in your trophy cabinet, how many cups are there? 86% success rate, actually, the All Blacks are the most successful sports team in the world. SA have the worst record for the tri-nations by far. Obviousely breaking agreement this year by "resting" 22 "injured" players didn't work this year aye? As for maths......LOL, I'm from and educated in NZ, I'm 100% sure my maths is right. Cheers boys, 4 more years

      Bok - 2011-10-19 21:26

      Is your boyfriend at you again Barry tell him to lay off a bit

      Bob - 2011-10-20 00:57

      @ barry yes barry...we know SA did choke but as i said before youve got 4 more years to try a get a half decent team together matey

      CapeChappy - 2011-10-20 15:22

      Wow Samn, there must have been a robbery, because I just popped in to the NZRU headquarters and there are actually no cups at all in the cabinet..... Apparently (according to a very nervous looking man behind the reception desk), the Aussies have the S15 and Trinations cups and the South Africans are currently hanging onto the Webb Ellis trophy.... very dusty shelves in that cupboard, but at least you (should) have one soon...

      Barry - 2011-10-20 21:34

      Choke Choke Choke Choke !! :)

  • Kevin - 2011-10-19 14:54

    NZ cannot win the 2011 World Cup .That opportunity was removed by there very own Bryce Lawrence and who ever else was involved . There will no legit winner of World Cup 2011.however ,the chokers will now be called the cheating chokers

      John - 2011-10-19 15:02

      Unlike the "legitimate" win the Bokke attained in 1995.

      John - 2011-10-19 16:22

      Blue, that wasn't my point. The argument presented was that the AB's will not have a fully fledged opponent. All I'm saying is the the Bokke won in 1995 playing a team that obviously was not firing on all cylinders due to the illness affecting the entire AB team.

      Paul - 2011-10-20 06:57

      @ John. Teams playing final rugby (massive intensity) with 2 lots of extra time will feel the heat. No wonder Jeff Wilson chucked after the game. But if they were poisoned, as you assert, and played under those conditions they would have ended up in hospital. They didn't complain afterwards because they had nothing to complain about. It's only your press and Kiwi's that believe the tall Suzie stories, the rest of the world are happy with what they saw. The Boks crowned as champions. By the way, ever heard of altitude sickness, Bwaaaahahaha.

  • Leu - 2011-10-19 15:50

    well i think the french are gonna get raped ! haha....if france lost to TONGA what makes you think they can beat the all blacks.... -.- wales deserve to be there in the final ... french fluked it likeee aussiees did against S.A !

  • Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 16:32

    didn't read the whole article, yawn, what a bunch of stupid girls hahaha, ill wet my pants if the Brats choke against France, I know is highly unlikely that they will, because the French are worse than China at rugby right now, but it will be Bryceless. Prediction McCheat limps off after 20 min & the Brats will be just another team, France galvanized by a sense of passion & pride will somehow pull their game out of the gutter & beat the average Brats by 1 point in an ugly messy game with both teams desperately kicking drop goals & generally playing desperate scrappy rugby. Refereeing will be unsurprisingly efficient & refreshingly fair, which will make a change from what we are used to. Go France (at least they come from France & not the some native islands), now for the thumbs

  • Zion - 2011-10-19 16:39

    Against the spirit and grain of tired old comments and a tad of jealousy: I may just open the doors to the AB's and shout Viva All Blacks viva.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 17:05

      Hear hear Zion

      Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 17:15

      what spirit is that, traitor spirit, unpatriotic spirit, what???

  • Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 16:41

    Now all we need is for the ALL BRATS to fall flat & the biggest farce of a WC since 1989 will become the biggest cock-up of a WC (for NZ), despite all the hard work by the IRB to ensure that the home team wins.

  • Barry - 2011-10-19 21:40

    Typical AB/NZ arrogance ...think they already won the RWC before the final after playing nobody to get there. Look at history. Its repeating itself

  • Bruce - 2011-10-19 23:12

    A couple of arrogant immature pricks who need their arses kicked by Henry for such an unprofessional performance .This sort of complacency 3 days before the biggest games of their career is shocking and it gives me, a Kiwi , a very funny feeling knowing what the French are capable of.

  • Joel - 2011-10-24 12:26

    sorry who choked???....bunch of sore LOSERS

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