Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams blasts critics saying he's under pressure to make Rugby World Cup

The midfielder rarely uses Twitter to respond to media stories about him, but Williams was clearly fired up, saying those who say he's under pressure need to 'get their priorities right.'

Williams wrote that playing sport for a living can't be compared to those who are struggling to deal with far bigger problems.

"And for those that say I'm under pressure playing a game that I enjoy," Williams wrote. 

"Get your priorities right. Look at what's going on in the world.

Sonny Bill Williams has to stay on park, Steve Hansen says

When asked what he wanted to see from the injury-prone second-five against the Springboks on Saturday night, the All Blacks coach's answer was to the point.

"We want to see him stay on the park," he said. 

"If he comes off it's because he's run out of energy as opposed to injury. We know he can play to a high level so it's his durability at the moment that's been affecting him getting on the park. We just want to see him put some minutes together then assess it from there."

Super Rugby: Sonny Bill Williams to start, Ma'a Nonu off bench in Blues' finale

For Williams, though, the stakes are a little bit higher as the 33-year-old, who has missed almost the entire back half of the season after requiring surgery to his knee, seeks to prove his fitness ahead of the international campaign, and a tilt at a third straight World Cup with the All Blacks.

'Don't let anyone pigeonhole you' - Sonny Bill Williams celebrates earning his bachelor's degree

Williams took to social media to celebrate his graduation from Otago Polytechnic where he earned a Bachelor of Applied Management (Sport Management) with distinction.

The 33-year-old posted a picture of his new degree alongside another of him in his graduation gown surrounded by his family.

"Yes a Pacific Islander, boxer, league, sevens & rugby player can GRADUATE!" he said in the post.

"Don't ever let anyone pigeon hole you. Alhamdulillah."

More surgery for SBW

Williams re-injured the troublesome knee, which he also had surgery on last year, late in the Blues victory over South African side the Stormers last month.

The 33-year-old then missed their fourth straight win, against the Waratahs last weekend, before the Blues on Thursday confirmed he would undergo minor arthroscopic surgery on Friday.

Blues coaches backing SBW trip

The Muslim All Blacks midfielder's trip south means he will miss the Auckland-based franchise's Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Eden Park on Friday night.

Assistant coach Tom Coventry said the coaches thought it would be a good idea, even before Williams made the request.

"We were going to ask Sonny if he'd like to make the decision to go.

"We were all in agreeance, it was a pretty short conversation.

"We all knew how hard he took it, so it was a simple decision to make."

Williams to miss Blues game to provide support in Christchurch

A proud Muslim, Williams posted to social media on Sunday night saying he would be in Christchurch "later in the week to show love and give donations to the Christchurch Masjids for the people effected in this tragedy".

The Blues confirmed the 51-test midfielder would not play against the Highlanders at Eden Park.
The match would count as one of the two Super Rugby fixtures he must miss as an All Blacks player ahead of this year's World Cup.

Williams' confirmation of his trip to Christchurch followed an emotional video he posted on Friday after the terror attacks.

Sonny Bill Williams meets Muslim UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov

Nurmagomedov is in Australia on a promotional tour, telling fans how he become one of the biggest names in sport during a live Q&A session at Olympic Park.

Williams posted photos of himself and Nurmagomedov on Twitter and Instagram, one of them where he was on stage with the reigning UFC lightweight champion.

"Alhamdulillah. Blessed to meet & share the stage with the brother @khabib_nurmagomedov May the most high continue to bless your journey," Williams wrote.

All Blacks stars Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane visit prison in Buenos Aires ahead of Argentina Test

On their day off, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Ardie Savea and several other teammates shared their rugby knowledge with some of the inmates.

Williams said the experience was about giving back to the community.

"I think for us as people, it's our responsibility to help people less fortunate than ourselves," he said.

"I got tackled before and I hurt my knee, I might not be okay to play this weekend," Williams joked.

The All Blacks players went through a skills session and took photos with the inmates.

Sonny Bill Williams hits back over 'leeches' controversy

Earlier this month, Newstalk ZB presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan told her listeners it was not worth the expense of sending the PM to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

"The Pacific Islands wants money from us," she said.

"The Pacific Islands don't matter. They are nothing but leeches on us."

Her comments were posted on social media, prompting lots of angry reactions and some abusive and offensive putdowns of the broadcaster herself.