All Blacks select Sonny Bill

Rugby League convert Sonny Bill Williams has been selected in the All Blacks squad for their upcoming tour of Europe. [more]

All Blacks select Sonny Bill

Rugby League convert Sonny Bill Williams has been selected in the All Blacks squad for their upcoming tour of Europe.

Williams is the only uncapped player to be selected by Graham Henry, with the former Lions boss able to recall several front-line players.

The touring party is again led by All Blacks legend Richie McCaw and he is joined by Dan Carter who was the chief instigator in their 2005 'Blackwash' of the Lions.

Carter played in the opening Two tests of that tour five years ago, amassing a staggering 44 points in Christchurch and Wellington.

There is also a recall for Liam Messam who helped New Zealand to the Gold Medal in the recent Commonwealth games in New Delhi.

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But it is Williams who has grabbed the headlines after coming a step closer to realising his dream of pulling on the famous All Black jersey.

The former rugby star of the 13-man code switched to union after signing a lucrative contract with French big-spenders Toulon. But he returned to New Zealand with Canterbury in the ITM Cup in the summer and has now earned international recognition before he has appeared in the Super 15.

"It's an unreal feeling at the moment," said Williams.

"When I first went to rugby, I probably had a lot of self-doubts thinking I didn't know if I could make it or not. It's just all turned out really good and I'm really happy and just trying to soak it up at the moment.

"The big thing for me was, coming back here, just the amount of support I have got from the public, not just in Canterbury but going to places like Whangarei and down in Southland with little kids coming up to me and knowing my name and being really supportive. It's really helped my self-confidence and as a person to grow".

New Zealand take on the Lions’ next opponents, Australia, on October 30 before beginning a Grand Slam tour which sees them take on England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

New Zealand touring party (with province and Test caps in brackets)

Forwards

John Afoa – Auckland (25)
Anthony Boric – North Harbour (16)
Daniel Braid – Auckland (4)
Tom Donnelly – Otago (13)
Hikawera Elliot – Hawke’s Bay (0)
Ben Franks – Tasman (7)
Owen Franks – Canterbury (17)
Andrew Hore – Taranaki (47)
Jerome Kaino – Auckland (33)
Richie McCaw (capt) – Canterbury (89)
Keven Mealamu – Auckland (80)
Liam Messam – Waikato (5)
Kieran Read – Canterbury (25)
Brad Thorn – Canterbury (46)
Samuel Whitelock – Canterbury (8)
Tony Woodcock – North Harbour (69)

Backs

Andy Ellis – Canterbury (14)
Daniel Carter – Canterbury (74)
Jimmy Cowan – Southland (41)
Stephen Donald – Waikato (19)
Hosea Gear – Wellington (2)
Cory Jane – Wellington (20)
Alby Mathewson – Wellington (1)
Mils Muliaina – Waikato (89)
Ma’a Nonu – Wellington (52)
Josevata Rokocoko – Auckland (66)
Sitiveni Sivivatu – Waikato (43)
Conrad Smith – Wellington (41)
Isaia Toeava – Auckland (26)
Sonny Bill Williams – Canterbury *

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