Peter de Villiers says Sonny Bill Williams’ game is high risk and against rugby principles.
When the Springbok coach announced his 51-man World Cup planning squad, De Villiers said he wasn’t worried about Williams – this despite the impressive form the player has displayed with the Crusaders this season.
‘As soon as somebody works him out, he won’t be as much a factor,’ he said in Wellington last month. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing Sonny Bill against a Jean de Villiers and a Jaque Fourie, who can cut down his space, and on the inside you’ve got big, hard tackles coming in from a Schalk Burger. Then we will see if the boxer can box, and if the dancer can dance.’
Now speaking to Union Sports Mag, De Villiers believes Williams will be exposed at Test level.
‘Now why is Sonny Bill Williams in my mind not the best? He’s been sensational and playing good rugby. He has matured in his game,’ said De Villiers.
‘But he’s doing everything wrong [according] to what rugby principles acquires (sic) of you. Back-hand passes shouldn’t be the norm, but it has become the norm. Now everybody wants to do that kind of nonsense and they forget about the basic principles of the game.
‘Like last week, he made four mistakes with those kind of non-rugby stuff. If it comes off, it’s brilliant. But do you have control of those kind of things? If you get to international level when people work you out so easy (sic), then you have to be in control of what you are doing.
‘If you get a little boy who is watching this Super Rugby and he wants to do things like that, he’ll spend hours and hours focusing on those things that are not important and never master the most important things of rugby.’
When asked if he has worked Williams out, De Villiers replied: ‘If you close down his spaces, put pressure on him and hit him hard; if you don’t dance around like he does, then he’s nowhere.’