Dare we say it, but this might be the end for Sonny Bill Williams, footballer?

The All Blacks won't admit as much. But deep down, Steve Hansen will wonder if SBW's ruptured Achilles tendon will permanently alter his plans for the Lions tour and next World Cup.

Officially, SBW is out for six to nine months. Will SBW come back at all though, and will he be the same player if he does?

There must be some sort of chance that this could be it for him as a top line footballer - there are no comeback guarantees around an Achilles injury, especially for a back whose earliest return date will be in the year of his 32nd birthday.


Reports and analysis of ruptured Achilles in the football codes and other sports such as basketball suggest that SBW is entering unknown territory after suffering the injury during the shock Olympic sevens loss to Japan in Rio.

It's not just a physical problem. Doubts will set in during the long recovery period and when he takes the field again. As for the Blues, the injury is a major disruption to Tana Umaga's schemes - a lot of the pre-season work would have been designed around SBW's unique skills.


There is one reason why the national sevens team should not be called the All Blacks, and losing to Japan isn't it. The main reason why New Zealand Rugby should drop the All Blacks moniker from sevens is simple - the players are not All Blacks. I doubt that someone like sevens veteran DJ Forbes would refer to himself as an All Black.

So how can anyone who plays for a team called the All Blacks not be an All Black? It's absurd. Apart from that, the All Blacks "brand" would be best served by accepting that they don't have a right to win everything, and are magnanimous in defeat.

The defeat to Japan was a huge shock, and an amazing moment in rugby history. Japan has had a wonderful year, after defeating South Africa at the World Cup. Even the hastily prepared Sunwolves were often better than expected in the horrible Super Rugby competition. Congratulations Japan. Remarkable, impossible results are what great sport is all about. A wonderful day for the romantic.


Question: Should Sir Gordon Tietjens' position as the national sevens coach have remained unchallenged for so long, given the results of recent years? The answer is obvious.


I'm loving the Olympics, with all its crazy stories, conflicts and action. But Sky TV's style of coverage is not working for me. Sky needed a central desk on one of their many Olympic channels, collating what's going on and providing cohesion, colour and comment. The coverage is soul-less. Sky have been allowed to hijack coverage of the Olympics and eliminate video opposition...and are doing a lazy job. It's another vote for anti-siphoning laws, a la in Australia.