Williams has Cup focus
July 9, 2010
Canterbury's Sonny Bill Williams watches training, Canterbury training session, Rugby Park, Christchurch, New Zealand, July 9, 2010
Sonny Bill Williams is focused on the ITM Cup © Getty Images

Canterbury's Sonny Bill Williams has pinpointed a successful start to his ITM Cup career as a possible pathway to his goal of All Blacks selection.

The former rugby league international is a doubt for the reigning champions' opener against Hawke's Bay on July 30 after undergoing keyhole surgery on a knee injury, but is keen to hit the ground running when his chance arrives.

"I've got 10 to 12 weeks in the ITM Cup to try and put my name in the frame. I just want to have a strong Cup campaign and work from there," he said. "As soon as I became a rugby player my goal was to try and become an All Black but that didn't really hit home until I started to hear some noise back here that they wanted me to come back."

Williams' operation was undertaken in Brisbane in the wake of his second pro boxing bout, which he won with a first-round knockout, and he is anticipating a return to training in around two weeks.

"I'm doing rehabilitation work in the gym at the moment and hopefully by the end of next week I'll be jogging then I can resume training the week after," he said. "The reports on the knee say that it was a very successful operation."

The former Toulon centre is yet to meet Canterbury's star attraction, All Black fly-half Dan Carter, but admitted that he was happy to learn from anyone as he continues his union education.

"I'm looking forward to meeting him and the rest of the All Blacks boys," he said. I've met Brad Thorn a couple of times and he's just got bigger! I've had a few laughs with the boys, probably at my expense, and there's been a little bit of teasing but it's all good.

"At the moment I'll be playing with a lot of young boys and whether I can learn off them or off Dan Carter or Richie McCaw I'm all for it. I'm here to learn my trade and hopefully to improve my footy."

Meanwhile, Southland began the defence of the Ranfurly Shield with a 48-3 romp over North Otago in Invercargill on Friday. Southland were held 10-3 at halftime by spirited opposition but rammed home six tries in the second half. James Wilson, Joe Tuineau, James Patterson, Elliott Dixon, Mark Wells, Jamie Mackintosh and Glen Horton crossed for the holders.


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