SBW didn’t watch 2007 defeat

Date published: October 12 2015

Ahead of Saturday's fixture, New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams has admitted he didn't watch the 2007 Rugby World Cup match against France.

The powerful back, who is unlikely to start this week's match, was speaking to media ahead of the Millennium Stadium clash and cannot wait for kick-off.

"This is what we have been building for as a squad. It's knock-out footie and it is all on," he said before comparing 2011 to this year's Rugby World Cup.

"It is definitely different, but these are exciting times. Having been there four years ago, the intensity of this tournament has taken another step and we know what we are in for this weekend. We just want to get out there and give it our best shot."

On the quarter-final in 2007, he added: "I didn't even watch the game, I was playing rugby league then. I just remember a week after when I flew back into New Zealand, it was a pretty sad time. But the past is the past and the future is the future.

"No matter what anyone says, it is all about Saturday and it's going to be a great game. I think everyone should make sure they watch because it is going to be an awesome, entertaining game."

Williams will be going up against an old coach on Saturday as former Toulon boss Philippe Saint-André is in charge of France, a challenge the centre is looking forward to.

"He was an awesome coach and he really brought out the best in me. He helped me kick-start my ambitions to go back to New Zealand and have a crack at the All Blacks' jersey," Williams continued.

"When I first started I wanted to play in the forwards, but then there were some injuries and I ended up in the backs. It just happened like that. I was fortunate to be coached by those guys, like Philippe and Tana.

"He (Saint-André) just said make sure you are there for the set plays and back your instinct. Then I started playing some pretty good footie, but I think he knows each individual in his side and knows their strengths. Hopefully it doesn't work this weekend."