Jones: Williams to be a hit
All Black star will have huge impact says Brave Blossoms boss
Last Updated: 31/08/12 1:02pm
Eddie Jones: Williams is 'tremendous' for Japanese rugby
Sonny Bill Williams is sure to be a massive hit in Japan according to former Australia coach Eddie Jones.
Williams, who is also New Zealand's heavyweight boxing champion, has left the All Blacks and Waikato Chiefs for a 12-match contract with Panasonic Wild Knights.
Just last weekend the 27-year-old centre helped the world champions crush Australia 22-0 to retain the Bledisloe Cup.
And Jones, who coaches Japan's national team, believes he All Blacks star's big-money loan to the Ôta based outfit will give a massive boost to Japanese rugby.
"He (Sonny Bill Williams) has just played two absolutely outstanding tests against Australia and with his profile he will bring an enormous amount of interest. To have a regular All Black, and one who's maybe even a little more special, with his background in rugby league and the boxing, come in is tremendous for Japanese rugby."
Eddie Jones Quotes of the week
"He has just played two absolutely outstanding Tests against Australia," said Jones on Friday. "And with his profile he will bring an enormous amount of interest.
"To have a regular All Black, and one who's maybe even a little more special, with his background in rugby league and the boxing, come in is tremendous for Japanese rugby."
Williams , whose contract is worth a reported $100,000 per appearance, will sit out Saturday's Top League opener against Tokyo rivals Ricoh Black Rams.
But the New Zealand star may make his debut on September 9 against NTT Communications Shining Arcs in Sapporo.
Jones dismissed suggestions that the player, who has a history of switching clubs and codes, was an extravagance and backed him to win over the sceptics.
"I've only met him a couple of times but he seems like a humble guy and he always puts his body on the line, be it for the Chiefs or the All Blacks," said Jones.
"If Panasonic are willing to pay that sort of money for him to play, good luck to him. I think he'll be good value for money."
Jones, who took over as Japan coach after last year's World Cup, made no secret of the fact that taking the "Brave Blossoms" to the next level was a work in progress.
"The reality is Japan haven't won a World Cup game for 20 years," said the Australian, who led the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney.
"The picture's not great but we're trying to maximise Japan's strengths with quick, fit and skilful players.
"They've always been admired for their inventiveness and courage. It's about taking the small steps to improve."