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Hansen has high hopes for Williams

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen insists Sonny Bill Williams is a "massively better" player in his second spell in rugby union.

Williams has been retained at inside centre for Saturday's QBE International against England at Twickenham after scoring two tries in last weekend's 74-6 victory over the United States.

It will be only his second union match since ending a two-year stint in Australia's National Rugby League competition with Sydney Roosters.

"Sonny Bill is massively better this time around. We saw what he was like against a tier-two nation, now we want to see what he's like against a tier-one nation," Hansen said.

"We haven't got a lot of Test matches between now and the World Cup starting so we need to get some answers.

"He's always been an instinct-type of athlete. That's why he's such a good league player, why he's a good boxer - he's got good instincts, good ability to adapt and adjust.

"It's a lot easier coming back for the second time. The same thing happened to Brad Thorn. They struggle when they first come into the game because they don't understand it.

"They then go back to another sport but at the same time they keep watching the game they've come from and keep growing their understanding. That's what Sonny has done very well.

"He's always known he's going to come back to rugby at some point and he's just kept watching the game and growing his learning and understanding."


From Belfast Telegraph