Sonny Bill Williams: The greatest living all-round athlete

Ed Angeli
Ed Angeli
Managing Editor
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Sonny Bill Williams, the Kiwi who can do it all; World Cup winner in both rugby union and league, and seven wins from seven fights in boxing. The New Zealander’s record is simply astonishing, a predictably successful future after being labelled a “freakish sporting talent” when at school. If there was a sport to be played, Williams was simply the best at it. 

There’s therefore no surprise that the 31-year-old can pick and choose which professional sport he fancies participating in when it suits. Following the successful 2015 rugby union World Cup, Williams turned his attention to the 7s circuit, in a bid to compete and win gold for New Zealand at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Unsurprisingly, Williams was selected, but he sadly tore his achilles tendon playing in the tournament.

Williams playing in the Olympics before his injury - Image Source: IndianExpress
Williams playing in the Olympics before his injury – Image Source: IndianExpress

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Following the Kiwi’s time on the sidelines, he’s now back amongst the union scene after his selection in the Auckland Blues squad for this weekend’s (08/04) super rugby game against Otago Highlanders.

With the visit of the British and Irish Lions this summer, Williams is looking to gain a place for the All Blacks hosting the travelling party; agree with our starting Lions XV:

 

It is good to see Williams on the union side of the sport, following his switch back to league after the World Cup. In a game where Williams’ skill set can be on full show from the offloading to the running game, his skills are far more utilised in rugby union compared to rugby league.

The physical nature, and limiting rules endorsed in the game of league has allowed Williams to become renowned for his shoulder charges and physical aspect he has to his game; a factor he’s managed to bring to the boxing ring.

But his trickery, his vision, and reading of the game is what makes Williams so good in union. Versatile, a player who can play in midfield, on the wings or at full-back; a natural understanding of the sport and how to manage a game. Plus, Williams is a marketing guru for the game, and could prove a brilliant PR tool this summer in New Zealand:

“His status as the most talked-about figure in Australasian sport arises from his fusion of the talent of [Lionel] Messi with the marketability of [David] Beckham.”

Oliver Brown, the Telegraph

The marketability and popularity the Kiwi has stretches to the boxing ring; able to sell out crowds without being a ‘big name’ in the sport itself. Williams’ record of seven wins from seven, including three knockouts, highlights how the All Black is not just a Freddie Flintoff-esque figure wanting a pay check, and to try his hand in something different.

He’s a serious competitor in a totally different sport. A warrior between in the ropes, and on the rugby field.

Whether or not Steve Hansen selects Sonny Bill this coming summer, the 6 foot 4 phenomenal athlete has to go down as one of the greatest all-round sportsmen to ever grace the world of sport.

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