Rugby League World Cup: Stephen Kearney plays down Sonny Bill Williams injury
Last Updated: 16/11/13 8:26am
Sonny Bill Williams: New Zealand star's injury is played down
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney insisted Sonny Bill Williams was taken off as a precaution after he suffered a neck injury in the Kiwis' 40-4 World Cup quarter-final victory over Scotland.
The Headingley match got off to the worst possible start for the defending champions when Williams went down inside the first minute following an Adam Walker tackle, and while he continued until the half-hour mark and set up tries for Bryson Goodwin and Shaun Johnson, he was not risked for the remaining 50 minutes.
Kearney was quick to play down the injury but he admitted Williams will be assessed during the week ahead of a semi-final clash against either England or France at Wembley.
"All the players who came off were taken off as a precaution because we had got ourselves into a position where we were able to do that."
"All the players who came off were taken off as a precaution because we had got ourselves into a position where we were able to do that," said Kearney.
"Now we will assess them over the next week.
"It was a pretty good performance because it has been a tough week of preparing for the match.
Completing the job
"Everyone expected us to get the result, so the lads have done very well in preparing properly and completing the job.
"We knew Scotland would throw a lot at us early on but we handled it and now we turn our attentions to watching the England versus France match."
Scotland coach Steve McCormack urged his side to continue their development despite the defeat.
"Everything about this tournament has been excellent for Scotland but now it's important we move forward from here," he said.
"We got to the quarter-finals for the first time in our history and we the lads have given everything in this tournament, I'm very proud of them.
"We expected New Zealand to be that good - they are a world-class team and I think it will take a good side to beat them."