Chris Rattue on sport

The latest sport analysis and comment from Herald columnist Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue: Counties? You can't be serious, Sonny

10 comments
Sonny Bill Williams is reportedly considering a move to Counties Manukau. Photo / Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams is reportedly considering a move to Counties Manukau. Photo / Getty Images

Don't do it, Sonny Bill Williams. Please. Yes, you are the greatest plonker in Australasian football, in any code, having dumped on your Canterbury Bulldogs team mates and fans mid season, even though rugby league treated you like a king.

But even you don't deserve Counties Manukau ... and the rest of us would like to see your talents given the best chance of re-emerging somewhere.

So think again, if you are serious about an international rugby career.

That's this column's plea, after a Sunday newspaper speculated Williams was lining up the stone cold Steelers as his entry point into New Zealand rugby.

What a disaster, should the report be correct. Counties Manukau used to be much admired and feared, chucking the ball around when everyone else was still chucking haymakers.

They even punched above their weight early in the professional era, but have spent the past decade on the canvas.

The chips are down in the potato patch. Professionalism has whipped through the area the way the wind whips through Growers Stadium, leaving that empty feeling.

Counties Manukau - who finished last in 2009 - are first-division cannon fodder. Williams will only go backwards there.

If this latest report is correct, then Williams appears to be carrying on his masterclass in how not to switch codes.

He quit what would have been one of the finest league careers before it had produced the goods, heading off to a new life with what must have been guilt in his heart despite the bravado.

Off he scuttled to a French rugby club whose millionaire owner had turned wobbly Toulon into a pension plan for footballers with a wanderlust ... for loot.

Toulon's latest match against Toulouse told the sad tale of Sonny Bill Williams.

His perfect frame could be seen putting in a big defensive effort, but Williams barely made a single run on attack. There were glimpses of his trademark off-loading ability, the ball-carrying hand extended like a cherry picker.

But in such an appalling game, it was a complete waste of time.

Watching Sonny Bill Williams play dreadful French club rugby is like turning on the telly to find Meryl Streep selling ab machines with a set of free steak knives thrown in.

How sickening. And reading secondhand accounts that Williams misses his Kiwi teammates makes you want to reach for a bucket, because he not only barked all over the Canterbury Bulldogs but walked out on our national league team in a World Cup year.

Now, Williams is allegedly trying to make the All Blacks by doing it all wrong.

If Tana Umaga does coach in South Auckland, then Williams hardly needs to follow the former All Black's limited coaching ability around.

Maybe this hints at the real Sonny Bill, an insecure boy in a powerful man's body. Having whinged about his life as a league star in Australia, he is homesick in France.

You might be able to run, Sonny Bill, but you can't hide from what is going on inside.

So the time has come to stop fooling himself. Williams needs to get a higher rugby education in order.

He should make his peace with league and head back to the game in which he was capable of ruling, an admittedly small world.

But this apparently is not going to happen. So union, struggling like never before, will gladly accept a PR gift and hope that inside the shiny wrapping is a genuine rugby present.

The perfect match for SBW would be Auckland and the Blues, fellow world-class experts at wasting exceptional talent.

But if Williams wants to learn rugby and push himself to the limits, he should think of Canterbury rather than the soft selection ride he would get at the Steelers.

If the NZRU is serious about forking out for his talent, it should demand he goes to the provincial and Super 14 heavyweights down south rather than the worst team in the Air New Zealand Cup and feeder for the Chiefs, famous for flawed All Black careers.

Learn from a real footballer, Sonny. Crusader Brad Thorn knew what he was doing when he quit the Brisbane Broncos. Twice.

Weekend Winner:

* The Chiefs - another win on the road has already put them in the box seat for a Super 14 semifinal spot.

What to Watch:

* Blues v Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday. A New Zealand stoush.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 27 Aug 2014 21:12:12 Processing Time: 1235ms