Olympics: Aussie media claim they were snubbed by Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams speaks to media at a press conference for the New Zealand sevens rugby team at the Rio Olympics today. Photo / Getty Images.
Sonny Bill Williams speaks to media at a press conference for the New Zealand sevens rugby team at the Rio Olympics today. Photo / Getty Images.

Australian media are claiming they were snubbed by All Blacks Sevens star Sonny Bill Williams at a press conference at the Rio Olympics today.

Williams was the main attraction during a well-attended press conference for the New Zealand team and afterwards spoke to various media outlets from around the world.

But Australian journalists were left to wonder what they had done to rile the two-time Rugby World Cup and two-time NRL premiership winner after Williams refused requests to speak with them.

"Perhaps he didn't want to be probed on the Jarryd Hayne sevens experiment?" said the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Maybe he didn't want to be asked about why he decided against a return to the NRL?

"Or maybe Williams is holding on to a gripe over the way he was treated when he walked out on Canterbury all those years ago?"

Without being able to get comment from the 31-year-old code-hopper, the Australian media could only speak to his teammates to gain an insight into Williams' presence in the New Zealand squad.

"He definitely gets a lot of attention," Tim Mikkelson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I suppose it's a running gag in the team. Anytime the media guy says we have to do media or a promo, he's always the first guy read out. We're like 'oh yeah, here we go again'. But it's good ay. He embraces it

"The boys enjoy it and give him a bit of stick about it. But he deserves the attention. Not many guys can come into sevens, play sevens and get picked in the All Blacks without playing Super Rugby. That just shows the type of athlete he is."

The All Blacks World Cup successes of 2011 and 2015 were highlights of Williams' career to date but he admitted an Olympic gold medal would be a greater achievement.

"I guess it would have to surpass it," Williams told the assembled media.

"Because as an athlete, there's no higher level than the Olympics. I'm just fortunate enough Titch gave me a shot at the start of the year. I've been fortunate enough this year to learn of the boys in the team. I've just trained my butt off and now that I'm here I just want to be successful."

Williams stunned viewers and created endless headlines around the globe last year when he handed his World Cup medal to a 14-year-old fan in the Twickenham crowd.

But he carefully deflected questions about whether he had plans to do the same if New Zealand were to succeed at Rio.

"We have to win it first, bro," Williams said.

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