Div's salvo at Sonny Bill

2011-04-20 15:44
Sonny Bill Williams (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Wellington - If the Crusaders' Sonny Bill Williams is one of the most hyped players in the rugby world right now, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers isn't exactly jumping onto the bandwagon of enthusiasm.

In what might well be interpreted as a daring, early psychological shot across New Zealand's bows ahead of the World Cup later in the year,  De Villiers effectively told a media briefing in this Boland town on Wednesday that the rugby league convert, making big Super Rugby inroads for the rampant Canterbury outfit at inside centre, was less than invincible.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Sonny Bill against a Jean de Villiers and a Jaque Fourie, who can cut down (his) space ... and on the inside you've got big, hard tackles coming in from a Schalk Burger.

"See (whether) the boxer can box then, or the dancer can dance!"

The Bok mastermind was presumably referring to the keenly-awaited cross-conference clash between the Stormers and Crusaders at Newlands early next month.

And he delighted in telling the assembled journalists that he had noticed "Sonny Bill lose four balls in contact" in their match against the Chiefs last weekend, when they nevertheless won 34-16 against highly-motivated, uncompromising underdogs.

"We all know what this game's about: any great star on the horizon ... as soon as you are worked out, that is when your true character must come to the fore."

De Villiers did have the generosity to add: "He's doing brilliantly at the moment; playing good rugby."
And he lauded the Crusaders' ability to "make good metres with the ball" after securing turnovers, something he felt the Stormers were also becoming good at.

Read more on:    peter de villers

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