WITH VIDEO: I'm a content man and the critics don't bother me: SBW ready to fire Kiwis World Cup campaign (From St Helens Star)
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WITH VIDEO: I'm a content man and the critics don't bother me: SBW in St Helens and ready to fire Kiwis World Cup campaign against Samoa in Warrington
NEW ZEALAND sporting superstar Sonny Bill Williams faced the glare of the media in St Helens as he spoke publicly for the first time since arriving in the UK for the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Williams and his New Zealand teammates – preparing for their tournament opener against Samoa on Sunday in Warrington - have been using facilities at Saints’ Cowley International College training base.
And the player regarded as one of the greatest athletes in either code of rugby cut an imposing figure as the Kiwis held an open training session at Hard Lane playing fields.
A few hundred spectators braved the wind and rain to watch the stars of the NRL, who also included South Sydney hooker Issac Luke and Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
An international media contingent was present at the field to meet with Williams, with representatives from radio stations, New Zealand television as well as the UK national press.
Williams’ involvement with the Kiwi squad has been surrounded by controversy, with the star criticised for belatedly making himself available after Stephen Kearney’s initial 24-man squad had already been named.
His involvement, however, is a shot-in-the-arm for the tournament’s publicity, as demonstrated by the vast media presence at Cowley.
And the 28-year-old backrower – who helped the Sydney Roosters to victory in the Australian Grand Final earlier this month, is now focused on the campaign.
“There have been regrets but I’ve moved on and things are going well. I’m a content man and not bothered about criticisms,” he told the media gathering on Cowley field.
“I can’t think of anything more than representing my country in a World Cup and hopefully we’ll have a good game against Samoa.”
Williams, who is also a heavyweight boxing champion, was a winner at the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup with the ‘All Blacks’ and is aiming for a unique ‘double’ by helping New Zealand claim League’s world crown too.
And he admitted that he finds the 13-man code a tougher challenge, saying: “Although rugby [union] is probably a more global game, rugby league is tougher, especially as I’m in the middle a lot more making the hard yards.”
But UK rugby league fans shouldn’t be getting too excited about Williams’ presence in the country, with the giant Kiwi ruling out any possible move to Super League.
“I’m getting a bit old for that, although I’m tempted by this weather,” he joked.
“I think I’ll play out my future somewhere it’s a bit warmer!”
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