Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Jerry Backs Sonny Bill

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Jerry Backs Sonny Bill

Article excerpt

NEW ZEALAND rugby legend Jerry Collins has backed Sonny Bill Williams to become an All Black, but also demanded the critics lay off the former NRL star as he learns the game.

Williams completed his first training run with the Barbarians on Tuesday as he prepares to make his debut on Australian soil in the 15-man game against the Wallabies on Saturday night.

Williams ran at outside centre with the invitational side, which also includes Australians Rocky Elsom, Phil Waugh and Chris Whitaker, at North Sydney Oval.

Asked if he could be a future All Black, the laconic Collins, who played with Williams at French club Toulon this year, said "yeah, pretty much".

And the 48-Test veteran backed Williams for his international rugby debut at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"He'll go good mate, no worries, he'll be fine," Collins said.

"He's up to it, he wouldn't get invited to come and play if the club didn't think he was up to it.

"I'm not a critic, I played with the guy, he should be fine. …

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