Sonny Bill praised for new kicking skills

Nov 20, 2017 - 1:16 AM The burgeoning skill set of Sonny Bill Williams has been acknowledged by two thankful All Blacks teammates after Test wins over France and Scotland.

Selected primarily for his physicality at the carry and in defence, inside centre Williams has twice set up tries with exquisite grubber kicks.

A neat dab past the rushing French defence set up centre Ryan Crotty in Paris last week.

It was nearly a mirror image in Edinburgh on Saturday as fullback Damian McKenzie raced through to pick up the spoils.

"He's two from two now. He's getting pretty confident with taking it to the line and putting it in at the last minute," McKenzie said.

"We just keep telling him to keep doing it.

"Obviously he's a massive threat with ball in hand so if he's adding that string to his bow, it's pretty impressive."

Williams also set up a try to Beauden Barrett against Scotland with a trademark offload, a weapon that has been ever-present since his Test rugby debut against England in 2010.

That Twickenham fixture came alongside All Blacks great Ma'a Nonu, another who added to panache to his power in the No.12 jersey late in his career.

Crotty said Williams' improvements are the result of diligence and repetitions on the training ground.

"That's one of the most satisfying things in rugby when you work hard on something that comes off in a game," he said.

Crotty said much of the criticism that has been directed the way of Williams throughout his rugby career had been unfair and ill-informed.

His presence, on and off the field, was an inspiration to a lot of young All Blacks, Crotty said.

"It'd be nice to see some nice accolades, some positive stuff, come out because he's been working bloody hard and it's awesome to see that," he said.

Source: AAP

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