Williams taking ‘swagger’ into World Cup

Sonny Bill Williams has put his controversial late selection for the rugby league World Cup behind him and says he will take a “swagger” into his performances for the Kiwis at the tournament.


Dual international Williams faced more questions about his availability backflip when New Zealand’s training session finished in bitterly cold conditions at Cowley International College in St Helens.

“Obviously there are regrets there, but I’ve moved forward,” Williams said.

“I’m not worrying about that, I’m just worrying about hopefully getting picked this week and doing a job on Samoa.”

The 28-year-old ousted Melbourne Storm second-rower Tohu Harris from the Kiwis squad when he had a change of heart and made himself available after the Kiwis squad had been announced.

It isn’t the first time Williams has polarised opinions but he says he is becoming used to the attention – negative and positive – that follows his career.

“I think I’ve become a better person for it and now I’m very content with the man I see in the mirror. You know the way I carry myself I’m a lot more confident.

“I don’t know if it shows, but I definitely walk around with a bit of a swagger because I’m happy as a man.”

Williams is a likely starter in Sunday’s game against the Samoans in Warrington.

There had been suggestions Williams may play at centre in the tournament but the absence of enforcer Jeremy Smith in the forwards and the good form of the outside backs means coach Stephen Kearney is unlikely to shuffle his deck.

Williams remains a key player for Kearney, wherever he plays, but says he is ready for the scrutiny of critics and extra attention from opposition teams.

“At the start of this season (NRL), you know there was a lot of pressure,” he said.

“I guess I kind of thrive on that, I know it gets the best out of me and I seem to just be able to push that to one side.”

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