Rugby: Sonny Bill Williams' message for Australian rugby

By Jamie Pandaram of The Daily Telegraph

Sonny Bill Williams of the Blues. Photo / Getty
Sonny Bill Williams of the Blues. Photo / Getty

Sonny Bill Williams has urged Australia's professional players to fight through their biggest performance crisis in Super Rugby history.

After another horror weekend in which all four Australian teams lost - all conceding more than 37 points - the Australian conference boasts just 11 wins from a total of 47 games this year.

Williams helped the Blues to a 40-33 win over the Waratahs in Sydney, making it 17 wins to nil for Kiwi sides over Australian teams this season.

"You have to take your hats off to how good New Zealand rugby is at the moment, but the tides will change," Williams told the Daily Telegraph.

"The Australian players need to persevere through this tough period and stay strong, there are always ups and downs in sport."

It is a notion supported by Tahs and Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps, who urged Australia's hardcore fans to stay solid amid widespread exasperation.

"Right across Australia it's a pretty defining time, because not only are players playing for positions but they're also playing for a lot of respect around their clubs and fans," Phipps said.

"I still feel like there's that core group that'll always support us, and it's every right they have to be disappointed in some of the performances from the Australian teams.

"But at the end of the day they've got to see that effort and that desire to get better.

"I know those ones who really stick by will reap the rewards when things turn around again and the shoe is on the other foot."

Phipps disagrees with critics who believe Australia is not producing enough quality talent.

"Everyone is happy to have a crack at every Australian team, we're going to go through some peaks and troughs," Phipps said.

"New Zealand are absolutely killing it at the moment and the South African teams are playing really well on the road.

"The Australian teams, we've definitely got the cattle there, you can see there's some fantastic players coming through the ranks.

"As a squad, the ability to compete on the world stage is something we haven't managed to get a hold of early in this year.

"When I look at our players, then I look at the players in New Zealand and South Africa you certainly know we can compete."

Meanwhile, Williams is confident of recovering from the concussion he suffered against NSW at Allianz Stadium that kept him out of the second half - with the Blues already leading 26-0.

"God willing I'll be all right, and I'm sure I will be," Williams said.

"The doctors did a great job, I passed the test at halftime but they said because I still felt a bit foggy it was better for me to sit down.

"Now there's a lot more studies around it, they'll pull you off instead of State of Origin style and chuck you out there.

"I remember the Mark Carroll days where you get up and try to keep going."

- Daily Telegraph

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