13 Jun 2019

Hansen praise not gone to SBW's head

6:02 pm on 13 June 2019

Sonny Bill Williams isn't reading too much into praise from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup.

Blues midfielder Sonny Bill Williams

Blues midfielder Sonny Bill Williams Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

The midfield star makes his return from a long injury layoff in the final match of the Blues season against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night.

Despite Williams' long stint on the sidelines, Hansen said last month the two-time World Cup winner had nothing to prove in terms of selection for this year's tournament.

But Williams said he didn't take too much from the endorsement of the All Blacks coach.

"I've just got to be firmly where my feet are," the 33-year-old said after Blues training in Auckland on Thursday.

"I'm not the one picking the teams, but I'm the one waking up and being the best me every day. That's just my mindset.

"Otherwise, in the world that we live in, your head can get a bit clouded. Sometimes you get too carried away and sometimes you can get a bit too down in the dumps.

"I just try and keep that nice upward scale in life and I find that things on the field go well."

Williams' first start for the Blues in half a season could also be his final Super Rugby match, with the team failing to secure a spot in the playoffs for an eighth successive year.

Williams' contract with New Zealand Rugby ends after this year's World Cup and there's speculation he could head abroad to wind down his career.

But he was giving little away on Thursday.

"Well you'd never say never, only God knows that, bro.

"I'm just really focused on this weekend and firstly get a [win] the boys in play some good footy."

Sonny Bill Williams speaks at the Auckland service.

Sonny Bill Williams speaks at the Auckland memorial service after the Christchurch mosque attacks. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Among the options for Williams beyond the World Cup are more education.

Last month he successfully gained a Bachelor's degree in sports management.

The father of three said, while his competitive fire still burned strongly, he was considering more study.

"Yes, I've made some mistakes in my life but I firmly believe that mistakes are just lessons.

"I love leaders that lead firstly through actions and I want my kids to grow up and be whatever they want to be.

"Yeah, they're Pacific Islanders and that stereotype probably does open all the doors for them, but if they want to step in the arena I want them to do that.

"I don't want to be one of these guys that says 'go and do that' and then they'll turn around and look at me and say, 'ahh dad, you dropped out of school at 14'."