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Blitzboks Out To Test Sonny Bill Williams

South Africa have put a question mark over Sonny Bill Williams’ defensive skills in sevens, and are eager to test him at the Wellington 7s next week. Williams has been
22 Jan 2016 15:43
Blitzboks Out To Test Sonny Bill Williams
From left; Sonny Bill Williams, Sir Gordon Tietjens, Scott Curry and Ardie Savea at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.

South Africa have put a question mark over Sonny Bill Williams’ defensive skills in sevens, and are eager to test him at the Wellington 7s next week.

Williams has been named in New Zealand’s squad for their home tournament of the world circuit and is tipped to make the cut to take the field at the Cake Tin on January 30-31.

The double World Cup winner is eager to prove himself in the abbreviated game and play for New Zealand at Rio 2016 where the sport makes its Olympics debut.

Neil Powell, coach of the South African “Blitzboks”, made it clear that defence would be the biggest challenge for Williams – who has changed attacking plays in 15s rugby with his remarkable offloading skills.

While those tactics will be invaluable in sevens, the wide open spaces can also expose defensive frailties, especially in terms of positional play and missed tackles quickly prove costly.

“One player can’t make a team, sevens is all about teamwork. So, while Sonny Bill might bring something on attack, we’ll have to see how he’ll go on defence because that’s the most difficult part of sevens,” Powell told sarugbymag.co.za.

“It will be interesting to see how he goes and adjusts to the intensity and speed of the game.”

South Africa and Fiji are tied at the top of the table after two rounds with New Zealand languishing 10 points behind in seventh after disappointing efforts in Dubai and Cape Town.

South Africa won their home tournament in December but claimed that title without playing Fiji or New Zealand.

With a team featuring several new players because of injuries, Powell wants to see his side’s credentials examined in the New Zealand capital as the lead-in to the Olympics intensifies.

“We want to test ourselves against the best in Wellington,” Powell said.

“It will be important to see how some of the new players fare against the likes of New Zealand, and Fiji if we face them later on. So we’re looking forward to that.”
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