Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams may be fighting for the last place in the midfield of the All Blacks Rugby World Cup. After coach Steve Hansen has given the green light to his two veterans.
The battle for the centre-back jersey is the most intense of all, Hansen weighing the merits of some very accomplished artists against the pillars of Blues Nonu and Williams, who participated in New Zealand’s triumphant campaigns in 2011 and 2015. Fans have bought their Rugby World Cup Tickets and hoping for their favorite players to perform well in the tournament.
It was thought that the 2015 final at Twickenham would be his swan song. But after 3 seasons with the French club Toulon, he produced compelling performances in the last two rounds of Super Rugby.
Hansen recognized the form of Nonu before explaining why he was not included in the foundation day of the 41 players in Wellington on Monday. He said it was previously decided that only contracted players in 2018 would participate.
“There are people who are not here and who, if you took them on the form, would probably be there,” he said.
Hansen admitted he had a headache in the middle of the race. Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape were also great opponents for their Super Rugby teams.
“None of us knew how Ma’a was going to come back,” Hansen said.
“We know he can play rugby test. He just has to show us that he has the ability to do it every week at the Super level. Then we have to make decisions. ”
Cross-code star Williams who had knee surgery last week will be away for another month adding to a litany of illnesses over the past 2 years. Hansen said the 33-year-old had acquired qualities and experience that made him priceless.
“It’s just a question of staying on the park. Once he shows that he can do that, he will be a difficult man to leave out.”
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