Williams calls for extra effort
Sonny Bill Williams has called for more effort from World Cup favourites New Zealand ahead of Sunday's quarter-final clash.
Last Updated: 06/10/11 3:40am
Sonny Bill Williams has called for more effort from World Cup favourites New Zealand ahead of Sunday's quarter-final clash with Argentina.
The Pumas will certainly look to stifle the All Blacks at source on Sunday, as they did so successfully against England.
But even without the influential presence of Dan Carter in the 10 jersey, Williams is confident the All Blacks can stick to their attacking principles.
"Hopefully we can still express ourselves out there and play with the freedom that we have been playing with," he said. "We have to acknowledge that this is knockout football, that there's no tomorrow.
"You've just got to find the right balance - not go into your shell and still express yourself but also recognise that it's finals football.
"At this stage of the tournament, it's about tapering down, getting the mental part right.
"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.
"Everyone involved just needs to raise the bar a couple of per cent each."
Although Carter urged the All Blacks to "move on" following his tournament-ending groin injury, the New Zealand squad are clearly still affected by his absence.
"It's really tough, a really big blow that DC is out and I'm sure most of the boys would have given up their place," said Williams.
"I would have taken that hit if we could - but what's done is done and we can't turn back time, we've just got to concentrate on the positives and that's what we're doing as a squad.
"We probably won't change too much in the backs, but just try and raise our game a couple of per cent each."
Williams made his mark on rugby union as a centre but he is turning into a valuable utility player for the All Blacks, having starred on the wing during the World Cup.
Asked about his favourite position, Williams said: "Probably number 10! Before coming into this tournament I'd never played wing in my life. It's more of an instinct game and I find that really refreshing too, being free to run."
Cory Jane and Richard Kahui have been New Zealand's first-choice wings with Williams providing back-up.
Zac Guildford scored four tries on his first World Cup appearance against Canada but he limped out of training on Wednesday with a hamstring problem.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw played a limited role as he looks to return from a foot injury, while Adam Thomson appears to have shaken off knee and ankle problems.