Williams ready to attack
Sonny Bill Williams believes the All Blacks should not tone down their attacking style in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Last Updated: 05/10/11 10:16am
New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams believes the All Blacks should not tone down their attacking style of play in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
The host nation has so far racked up 240 points and 36 tries as they comfortably progressed to the quarter-finals as winners of Pool A.
The rest of the tournament is likely to present tougher competition but Williams says New Zealand should not abandon their free-flowing principles despite the stakes being raised.
"Hopefully we can still express ourselves out there, and play with the freedom that we have been playing," he said.
"But also we have to acknowledge that this is knockout football, that there's no tomorrow.
"You've just to find the right balance, not go into your shell and still express yourself but also recognise that it's finals football."
Former rugby league player Williams, who has started two games at inside centre so far in the tournament, will be getting his first taste of "finals football" on the global stage.
"You've just got to tick all the right boxes, at this stage of the tournament, it's about tapering down, getting the mental part right," he said.
"Every team that faces the All Blacks raises their game and now it's the knockouts, they're going to raise it a bit more, we've got to be ready for that."
If the All Blacks are to lift the Web Ellis Cup for the first time since 1987, they will have to find a way to cope without superstar fly-half Dan Carter.
Williams admits that the loss of Carter is a huge blow but says the squad must now move forward with what they have still got.
He added: "It's really tough, a big blow, but he's out. I'm sure most of the boys would have given up their space, would taken that hit if we could.
"But what's done is done, we can't turn back time so we've just got to concentrate on positives and that's what we're doing."