New Zealand Tour
Muliaina hails 'awesome' Williams
ESPNscrum Staff
October 26, 2010
Mils Muliaina takes the ball on at All Blacks training, All Blacks training, Trusts Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, October 22, 2010
Mils Muliaina has been impressed by what he has seen from Sonny Bill Williams in training © Getty Images

Mils Muliaina has lauded Sonny Bill Williams for the way in which the rugby league convert is progressing since linking up with the All Blacks.

Williams is in line to make his first appearance for New Zealand in this weekend's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Hong Kong and Muliaina is in no doubt that the centre has what it takes to make a big impact at Test level.

"He's been awesome," the veteran fullback said of his new team-mate. "He really wants to learn, he's a big unit and his running lines are awesome and what he does at training, he's always there for the offload. He's been great so far, been really impressed with the way he's grown.

"He has had a lot of attention and even the guys in the team are watching him play and the thing I really enjoy about him is that he's really open to learning different things you can do from rugby league."

Muliaina revealed, though, that the entire All Blacks squad are flying high in training at the moment on the back of their Tri-Nations clean sweep, which was achieved with two stunning come-from-behind victories, over South Africa in Johannesburg, and Australia in Sydney.

"There's a real belief that when things aren't going so well we can get out of it and those two occasions have definitely shown that," he said. "To come back in Johannesburg and then win the way we did two weekends later when perhaps we should've lost, there is a real belief to be able to come back with 10 minutes or so to go.

"But that's not the way we want to play. We don't want to be playing catch-up footy but it's a good thing that there is a real belief in our camp that we can do the business.

"Whenever we've played this year, we've always talked about the mental side of things. We didn't get our start right (in Sydney) and that's going to be pretty key but we got there in the end.

"There's certainly aspects of our game that we didn't get right, set-pieces didn't go as well as we wanted and we were under pressure a fair amount so we couldn't really get out of our own half.

"Those are the lessons you've got to take out of that game and certainly we know that given the same position, it will be pretty hard to come back like we did in Sydney. We were pretty stoked to come back and to score two tries and win it the way we did means a lot to us. In years past they've done it to us plenty of times.

"There's a real drive in-house to put pressure on each other, there's real good competition and that's creating a really good edge. If we keep doing that, when the pressure times come on the field, hopefully we can get out of them."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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