WIlliams has doubts   11 Jun 2010

RUGBY - Sonny Bill Williams admits he is taking a big 'risk' in returning to New Zealand to pursue an All Blacks dream that is by no means guaranteed.


After signing on with the New Zealand Rugby Union and turning down an 'unbelievable' offer from French rugby club Toulon - believed to be around $6million - Williams says he is still a raw rugby talent with a lot to improve.

"I'm sitting here talking like I'm going to play for New Zealand but it's a very big risk me coming back home because there's a chance I might not make it," Williams told Sportal on Friday morning.

"I'm one for a challenge. The dream to play for an All Black jersey was something I couldn't turn down."

"It's a challenge and yes I have my doubts, but hopefully I [don't] let anyone down."

"I know if I don't perform I won't be picked for the World Cup. I wouldn't say it's a cut-off point [to deciding the future] but I'll definitely reassess my situation after the World Cup."

The 24-year-old worldwide superstar is contracted until the end of 2011 and will decide which province and franchise he will play for within the next 10 days.

He gave his biggest hint yet that the Crusaders was his preferred Super 15 destination.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you play alongside Dan Carter you are going to improve your game," he said.

"I'm learning and I'm still a pretty raw player. I haven't played in New Zealand, so I've got to take the heart and feelings out of it [the decision of who to play for] and think with my head."

"I'm fortunate enough to have a choice of a few clubs. I really want to go somewhere where it can make me the best I can be."

"I feel if I put myself in the right province back in New Zealand that I can grow as a player. Hopefully the confidence will come. Obviously it'll be a different style that I'm used to, but I'm excited to be doing it."

Williams had a disrupted first season in France but played 20 games this year, predominantly at second five-eighths outside Jonny Wilkinson.

He admitted still coming to grips with positioning in the backline but had gained confidence and had greater skills and understanding thanks to the England pivot.

The once-loved Bulldogs second-rower said his family, especially his mother Lee, had been a deciding factor in his homecoming. He was hopeful he would have the public's support.

"You are always going to have your knockers. [Hopefully] the average guy on the street accepts and get in behind me because I am a Kiwi and I'm coming back to have a crack," the Auckland-born man-mountain said.

"I'm excited mate. Hopefully it's a lot more running rugby [than in Europe] and I get a lot more ball and I can express myself."

Canterbury, North Harbour and Counties-Manukau are the frontrunners for Williams' ITM Cup signature. He and Tana Umaga had had long talks about New Zealand rugby and the former All Blacks captain remained 'a very big factor' in the progression of his play.

There was definitely big pressure and expectation to perform but that is what he thrived on, Williams said.

"I know it's going to bring the best out in me," Williams said. "I'm not expecting fireworks from the start. I want to get in the grind and improve. I have higher expectations than anyone else. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I won't be paying attention to outside people. I'll give my province my all and try to put myself in the frame."

He did not have aspirations to play Sevens and was focused on being consistent in the 15-man game.

Following his June 30 boxing belt in Brisbane, Williams would spend the day with his mother and then return to New Zealand on July 1.

SOURCE : Sportal

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