Blackadder: Sonny Bill a hero

2011-05-12 09:57

Wellington - Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has leapt to the defence of the "unbelievable" Sonny Bill Williams, who has been the target of scathing criticism from Springboks boss Peter de Villiers.

Speaking to his home newspaper The Press from South Africa, where the Crusaders are preparing to play the Cheetahs this weekend, Blackadder was not prepared to get into a public debate with de Villiers.

But he said rugby needed heroes like Sonny Bill, who was a "fantastic player and a great role model".

Before the Crusaders monstered the Stormers last weekend, de Villiers was dismissive of Williams' flamboyant offloading skills, which he described as "a bad example to aspiring youngsters".

"I hope he will mature his game," the Springboks coach said. "He's doing everything wrong what rugby principles require of you in the game.

"Backhand passes shouldn't be the norm ... it has become the norm, now everyone wants to do that kind of nonsense."

A youngster watching Williams would get the wrong impression of the core skills needed to play the game, de Villiers added.

"He'll spend hours and hours on the things that are not important and never master the most important things of rugby."

Williams starred in the Crusaders 20-14 win over the Stormers with his offloads and powerful running and winning praise from Blackadder.

"This game needs heroes. All the kids are running around calling offloads 'Sonny Bill Williams'," he said.

"It's like when Jonah (Lomu) was playing. We should embrace those people with natural, special gifts. It's great for the profile of the game.

"I think Sonny's a fantastic player and a great role model. He's a real professional and he seems to be able to express himself ... He's got an instinctive ability which is just unbelievable."


15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Riaan Smit, 13. Robert Ebersohn, 12. Corné Uys, 11. Rayno Benjamin, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Sarel Pretorius, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Ashley Johnson, 6. Heinrich Brussow, 5. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4. Francois (FS) Uys, 3. WP Nel, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Coenie Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Lourens Adriaanse, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Kabamba Floors, 20. Tewis de Bruyn, 21. Naas Olivier, 22. Hennie Daniller

15 Tom Marshall, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Ben Franks

Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Matt Todd, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Brent Ward


  • sweis1986 - 2011-05-12 10:07

    Agree, Pduhvvy should keep quiet, what an idiot

      Bellakanoose - 2011-05-12 10:50

      So sick of everyone having a hard-on for Sonny Bill Williams... he's human, and he's going to come short at some stage! Few lucky off-loads just like Carlos Spencer... then what?

      GILLBERT - 2011-05-12 11:10

      atleast the KIWIS has had someone like carlos and SBW and carter and MIill and the lists goes on what has the boks produced in world class players last 10 years except for monty

      kosie - 2011-05-12 11:41

      @ gilbert: Fourie du preez, bryan habana, jacques fourie, victor matfield, juan smith and they are currently playing. former world class boks: joost vd westhuizen, monty, os du randt

      GILLBERT - 2011-05-12 11:52

      ou kosie hoekom noem jy nie net sommer die hele springbok span nie hulle is mos die nommer 1 in world rankings ha ha haha h what a joke

      kosie - 2011-05-12 12:13

      @ gilbert: name any player better than them in there position when they were on form

      Charnè Anderson - 2011-05-12 12:23

      @ Kosie, Hulle is nie no.1 nie, hulle is maar net die wereld beker wenners... nie nommer 1 nie... bloody delusional! They win a WC, but the ABs are no.1 in rankings in that four years... who wants a cup when you can be no.1?

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-12 12:29

      @Charne - ask the All Blacks and the people of New Zealand what they would rather have.......a WORLD CUP winners medal, or a few S14/15 and Tri Nations titles, rounded off with a No 1 go ask them what matters most.

      Bellakanoose - 2011-05-12 12:57

      You people are so fickle! Grow-up man! Jacque Fourie broke more tackles than Sonny Bill, + he got smoked by Gio Aplon, the smallest guy on the field! You're all obsessed it's pathetic! At least P Divvy has faith... and not stroking SBW ego like everyone else!

  • GILLBERT - 2011-05-12 10:18

    snorre is a freaking idiot, and is probably secretly in love with SBW...... the clown is back my friends..... the bozo is gonna ruin the RWC cup for tha boks and its gonna be a kiwi and ausie final and you can take that to the bank

      RJ - 2011-05-12 10:32

      LOL well thr no secret of Snors feelings he is fighting the chemistry

  • Allo Allo - 2011-05-12 10:23

    Please oh please could someone tape PDivvy's mouth shut. SBW is a brilliant player with skills not often seen. What he does is not "wrong" in traditional rugby way's. Its visionary! big difference. But this would not make sense to our esteemed coach. Vision has never been one of his strong points

      RJ - 2011-05-12 11:53


  • silverflash - 2011-05-12 10:39

    I concur with P .divvy .. to a certain extend . ..What Sonny is doing for rugby is awesome he is bringing in a new style of play which we should study and try to implement

  • Omri - 2011-05-12 10:40

    . . . and Peter "helium" does it again !! By opening up his naive pie-hole, he has once again just showed how far behind world rugby he actually is, and how unwilling he is to recognize true talent. He therefor starts criticizing rather than develop the necessary plans and skills to counter star players like SBW (and the rest of the All Blacks). South African and SARU are doing themselves a disservice by allowing him to talk to the media and not to give him a media spokes person. "Backhand passes shouldn't be the norm ... " PLEASE PDV . . . wake up from this wet dream that you are living in. That is the sort of stuff that wins games.

  • MaestroX - 2011-05-12 10:45

    What a dingbat, making SA supporters and players all look like a bunch of idiots. SBW can most certainly do the basics right, it’s his ability to do the extraordinary that makes him so difficult to contain. The back pass he did against the Stormers dam near brought about a try, their first try was 100% thanks to a SBW offload over/around the defender and is extremely difficult to stop. PDV is just so stupid, did he even pass grade 12??? Please NZ supporters, don’t listen to him and say he is representative of us, I doubt there is a single person bar his family who want him as SA coach. He is the biggest embarrassment to the country after Ras Dumisani (even that is debatable)

      Crusaderinvader - 2011-05-12 11:47, don't worry mate I have SA mates over here in Christchurch,they are all well spoken and professional..unlike your Bok coach :)

      MaestroX - 2011-05-12 12:26

      That's a relief to hear Crusaderinvader!! Thanks. Congrats on another awesome team and the find of the year (SBW). I honestly think he may help you guys win the WC this year, that's how good he is. however you had in my opinion and even bigger threat in '95 world cup in the most awesome Lomu and we managed to find a way to deal with him, somehow we managed to keep him off the score sheet altogether against SA. A few things a SA team in a final will always have is massive amounts of, determination, pride and guts. Question is, can we get to the Final, if so…watch out.

  • huts25 - 2011-05-12 10:56

    "Before the Crusaders monstered the Stormers last weekend"...what game were you watching? Sonny Bill is an exciting player but its a bit early to say he's a great role model, in my opinion he has a long way to go before he can be compared to the likes of Jonah Lomu.

      Taupstar - 2011-05-13 14:57

      obviously you forgot about frank bunce, it was bunce who created all the space out wide for jonah to run freely, and thats exactly what sonny is doing but a different dimension !!!

  • Craig44 - 2011-05-12 11:12

    PdV is once again blatantly showing his stupidity. Any person who remotely understands sport science will tell you the for an individual to perform as well and as naturally as SBW, you have to have mastered the PdV so called "Core" skills. This mastery gives you the ability to improvise as he does. But like any star player, he will be studied and closed down... It's te nature of strategy and planning... Identify and neutralise the threats and exploit the weaknessess. Chief SA weakness = PdV

  • Grunk - 2011-05-12 11:18

    I bet you Todd is tweeting all his NZ mates now saying that they've got the RWC as good as won because SA is not going to worry about doing anything special about SBW. If SBW is creating havoc now, just imagine what he and Carter will have going by that time?

      Crusaderinvader - 2011-05-12 11:51

      I doubt it, Graham Henry is on record as saying the Aussies are our main threat this WC, and I'd have to agree. The Wallabies have a backline at least as potent as ours..they worry me, but I'm relaxed about the Boks!!

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-12 12:32

      @crusaderinvader - but being the rugby genius you are, you do know that most WC finals are not won with fancy footwork and backline play...? I believe England and South Africa (who will both play 10 man rugby) could possibly be more of a threat than you think. Use it, don't use it.....

      Crusaderinvader - 2011-05-12 22:36

      @SAFFA-CAT..cast your mind back to Soweto last year, was that a flashy performance by the men in black?..hell no bud, we ground the boks down for the first 75 mins then pounced at the right time, breaking Bok hearts once again..that was smart rugby that I'd suggest demonstrated an ability to play whatever style of footy it's takes to win. We soaked up all the pressure,everything you guys could throw at us then made the killer blows when it counted while you guys "choked". Also, for the first time, we have held onto the same coaching staff and many of the players that played in "07, so they will be older and wiser.

  • Kok - 2011-05-12 11:27

    I am missing my good friend, Lloyd from Andries Pretorius' city, up north.

  • Charles Small - 2011-05-12 11:34

    Pdivvy is simply afraid people. He saw what SBW did to the Bok centre pair and he doesn't have an answer.

  • Phillip van schalkwyk - 2011-05-12 11:39

    There goes’ visionless Divvie again, offloading in tackle situation is what score tries , the time of running over other teams because you are bigger is long gone or feeding of other teams mistakes in hoping they make a mistake does not work, wake up Divvie can’t wait to see how you mess up the Boks World Cup dreams.

  • Ambiorix - 2011-05-12 12:01

    Ja racist ignorant armchair critics, you morons never change.... Did any of you shooting your mouths off even watch the interview with Div? No, rather read and believe whatever this tabloid site spits out. The mentality of the bloggers on this site is a fair reflection of the quality of most of the journalism on here

      Wilhelm - 2011-05-12 12:08

      The exact same words from the video is used in the article, what are you on about?

      MaestroX - 2011-05-12 12:36

      Ambiorix, I certainly did watch it! In fact I watched it twice just to confirm I was hearing correctly. How anyone can say what SBW is doing is bad for the game needs his head read. For so long now we have had 2 attacking options in our back line, the up and under and the 1st centre trying to bash his way over the advantage line hoping for a missed tackle! That's the some of it, on the odd occasion we try a 1st phase move and it works brilliantly, however how often do we not simply revert to the same old boring thing. SBW gives you another dimension, he is able to run at you, draw in the defence and then offload to the player after or over the tackle. The only other players I ever saw do that properly was Bobby and a brilliant school boy SA Captain by the name of Michael Ehrentraut. We just don't have that skill...yet. It is something you can teach but it comes more naturally to some, preferably those with huge upper body strength because you do risk your ribs when you lift your arms to clear them for the pass. Then again, if you have coach who thinks its stupid, guess they aren’t exactly going to have it on their agenda now are they!!!

      Phillip van schalkwyk - 2011-05-12 16:31

      Were you at all your senses with your comment or are you one of those politician type who hide behind racism if someone is out of his depth in what he does , clearly if you are of sound mind you can’t possibly think that what he said is in any sense positive for springbok rugby or did you only start watching Rugby from maybe the last couple of games because obviously you are none the wiser. ( You say watched the interview , Luckily that can’t be erased or changed , seems to me you are the Moron!!!!!)

  • Cereal-Killa77 - 2011-05-12 12:29

    "Before the Crusaders monstered the Stormers last weekend" Im sorry but i did not see any monstering going on last weekend. It was an etremely tight game that went down to the wire.

  • andrewMAG - 2011-05-12 14:22

    SBW is very good but overrated nevertheless. His outside backs make him look better than he really is - they are the ones that should get the praise when catching speculative passes[And some forward ones too ;-)] the real threat is quade cooper and lets not forget that. The stormers tackling on SBW was pathetic to say the least. Watch the way bekker tackles him - tackle him like he tackles others ie shoulder charge him then lightly place ur arms around the falling man or tackle the ball. De Wet barry wouldve needed no help whatsoever. Butch should do just fine as well.

  • molton brown - 2011-05-12 14:26

    "Before the Crusaders monstered the Stormers last weekend" - I don't think so! I watch that game and for the majority of the game the Stormers were leading in both terrotory and possession. SBW's offload was clearly forward in regards to the Crusader's first try. His offload were in fact flawed when pressure was applied. JDV and Jaques F. made stronger, clearer and longer line breakes than SWB. Highly overated player that will soon in the future realise union is not league.

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  • StephanM - 2011-05-12 17:32

    What a load of BS! If JdV had these skills PDiv would have sung a different tune!

  • Kiernan - 2011-05-13 00:05

    sonny bill is a legend

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