Sonny Bill stunner - He's ripped all right (+ video)

By Chloe Johnson

Adidas is sending All Black star Sonny Bill Williams' ripped jersey to China to find out how the right sleeve was torn off in Friday night's Rugby World Cup opener.

But if the jersey maker is upset at the failure of its much-touted high-tech jersey, Sonny Bill's legion of fans weren't - images of him changing shirt on the field have become an internet sensation.

More than 60,000 fans were at Eden Park and one of loudest cheers of the night was when All Blacks doctor Deborah Robinson helped the second-five eighths change his shirt.

Robinson said her main focus was getting the new shirt on Williams so the game could continue. "Obviously, I could sense there was some interest when the crowd cheered, but we just got on with the game."

Adidas sports marketing strategy manager Paul Stephens said the jersey had been sent to adidas' headquarters in China to be examined. "The jersey is on its way to our technical quality control centre at the sourcing headquarters where it will be analysed and then returned to the player to keep," Stephens said.

All Blacks supporter Brooke Price, aged 26, said women in the stadium were making jealous remarks about Robinson's role.

"He's the player all the girls are drooling over at the moment and for that to happen to him on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup was gold," Price, of Hamilton, said.

Social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were flooded with marriage proposals, bids for the ripped shirt and bawdy statements.

"He just took his shirt off, he did he did ... he can't put it back on, too tight... OK, getting a bit hot in the office! Grrr Sonny Bill Williams," Christine Hewitson tweeted on the night.

Radio personality Dominic Harvey wasn't ashamed to admit he was impressed with the hulk-like body: "SBW shirt rips on his tattooed side? Too good to be true. And then a slow-mo of the rip. Even I'm aroused," he tweeted.

He told the Herald on Sunday that everyone at his house, including the men, were glued to the TV when the shirt came off. "I'm completely comfortable with my sexuality to admit he is a handsome fellah," Harvey said.

- Herald on Sunday

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