Rugby: Talented Tim hopes his time has come at last

By Greg Taipari of the Daily Post -
Tim Nanai-Williams says he has never felt fitter heading into the Super 15 season. Photo / Duncan Brown
Tim Nanai-Williams says he has never felt fitter heading into the Super 15 season. Photo / Duncan Brown

Tim Nanai Williams has long been touted as a player of great potential and he hopes the upcoming Super Rugby season will be the time he delivers on that promise.

The 22-year-old fullback, has been a standout for his provincial side the Steelers since he debuted in 2008. However, he hasn't quite reached those lofty heights for the Chiefs, mostly because his debut season was plagued by a serious ligament injury while playing against the Crusaders.

But that is all set to change. At 182cm tall and 90kg, Nanai Williams said he had never felt fitter.

"There are a new bunch of boys here. We're all from different backgrounds and there is some big talent in the team and I can't wait to hit the field with the new boys.

"We've got some big names here too with Sonny [Bill Williams] and Karks (Richard Kahui) and Aaron Cruden.

I'm definitely trying to step my game up this year, try and shine and put my name out there.''

With the Chiefs backline looking like a who's who of the All Blacks, Nanai Williams said he was keen to try to cement a spot at fullback - despite the fact former All Black coach Graham Henry considered him a potential at first-five.

:There's been a lot of talk about where coaches want me to play. I really want to cement that spot as a fullback. So we've got Robbie Robinson in the team as a fullback, too. We are both fighting for that position, which is good,'' he said.

:But I'm happy to play wing or fullback - wherever [coach Dave Rennie] wants me.''

Nanai Williams said it would be no easy feat to step up to fullback, a position which had been filled by one of the Chiefs greats, Mils Muliaina.

"It's not easy coming out of the shadow of Mils. I definitely, really want to make that step and make that jersey proud. The things I've learnt off Mils in the past two years. I've really taken that on board.''

Rated by many rugby pundits as one of the most dynamic and exciting young backs in New Zealand, Nanai Williams said the first step for the Chiefs was simple.

"Definitely get a lot of starting spots and getting some real good game time. Also being consistent and showing the coaches I can do it week-in and week-out.''

The Chiefs have pre-season games against the Rebels in Australia on February 3, followed by the Highlanders in Queenstown on February 10 and the Hurricanes on February 17, in Taupo. Their season-opener is against the Highlanders on February 25, at Waikato Stadium.

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