All Blacks prop embracing every moment at Rugby World Cup

1:35 pm on 6 October 2023
All Blacks debutant Tamaiti Williams with the Freedom Cup.

Tamaiti Williams scored his first test try in the big win over Uruguay. Photo: Photosport

All Blacks prop Tamaiti Williams keeps ticking boxes.

It's been a year of firsts for the Crusaders front rower; picked for the All Blacks for the first time, he's since made his test debut, his World Cup debut and in Friday's win over Uruguay he scored his first test try.

"Me and Leicester (Fainga'anuku) were wrestling for the ball. I said 'you've already got a try, give it here' and he was like 'alright' so I latched on to it, but he's probably the one that deserves credit for that one.

"It was cool to score my first try at a World Cup as I don't get many."

Williams had a strong performance in the 73-0 win over the South Americans that sealed the All Blacks a place in the quarter-finals in France.

He said he's growing into his role, though he concedes he's not fully comfortable just yet.

"Never comfortable, bro. Never comfortable. But I am more confident, a little more confident. Everything is still new, the crowds, the buzz around the World Cup.

"I'm just taking it day by day and trying to win everyday."

Tamaiti Williams of New Zealand during the 2023 Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and South Africa

Williams is looking forward to the World Cup quarter-finals. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The All Blacks now enter the knockout phase of the tournament, with Ireland their likely quarterfinal opponent.

Williams knows World Cup playoffs will come with more pressure than he's ever faced as an All Black, but he's not shying away from the challenge.

"You have to win to earn another Monday and another game now and I like that.

"We'll take every day as it comes and just try and win every day so we're the best prepared for the quarterfinals."

And he's developed some techniques to help ease the burden of expectation, so that the pressure doesn't affect his performance.

"For me it's about having a balance. When you're at training you're locked in to rugby, but when I'm not at training I'm enjoying being a tourist and I'm just another one of the boys and it's cool you get to travel with your mates.

"But when it's time to work, it's time to work and next week, it's time to work."