4 Sep 2010

SBW converts some skeptics with solid debut

6:20 am on 4 September 2010

Canterbury's newest rugby star has finally debuted for his province with Sonny Bill Williams playing most of their 28-9 home win over Bay of Plenty.

The former Kiwis league international's been the most talked about player in New Zealand this year since turning down a new contract with French club Toulon to return home with the goal of playing for the All Blacks at next year's World Cup.

Starting on the bench, Williams made an earlier appearance than expected at second five when Ryan Crotty was forced off in the first 15 minutes with an ankle injury.

His deft touch, offloads in the tackle, speed and ability to beat men were all evident in the few opportunities he received - but Williams' biggest moment was a late try-saving tackle on Lelia Masaga in the corner in the second half as the champions routed the Steamers, keeping them tryless in the 3 tries to nil romp, and scoreless in the second half.

Canterbury led 10-9 at half-time.