The thrill of seeing Sonny Bill Williams lurk at wing outside a Ma’a Nonu led midfield is not one that the new high profile Chiefs recruit sees himself replicating in the long term future.
The switch of the 108kg centre to the wing gave the All Blacks yet another option out wide, and another backup World Cup midfielder in Richard Kahui also played in the three-quarter line – but his position became first choice.
Sonny Bill, despite a strong Investec Super Rugby season, fell in the pecking order as incumbent Nonu was given first opportunity to cement his jersey, as he did this to a point that led to his nomination for the International Rugby Board’s World Player of the Year award.
Williams played the World Cup as a high impact reserve.
Nonu announced he was signing with the Blues before Williams revealed where his eventual destination was, but the All Blacks second five-eighth’s move to Auckland essentially confirmed Sonny Bill’s presence in the Waikato (assuming he stayed in New Zealand).
Williams, always the team man, said he would play on the wing for the Chiefs if required.
However he said to the Waikato Times he was wanting to challenge the best player in his preferred position – second five-eighth – in the country, and that meant he would again be going ‘head to head’ with Ma’a.
"When you're playing rugby in New Zealand, if you're not aiming to be the best in your position, then you shouldn't be playing," Williams said.
"Richard (Kahui) is the same, he wants to be the best 13 in the country and I want to be the best 12.
"But there's stiff competition there. That just comes back to doing all the little things right, ticking all the boxes, doing your extras and playing well.
Williams said Nonu was a considerable benchmark.
"Ma'a is a great player, an exceptional player and a really good friend of mine,” he said.
“But I'm looking forward to playing him and I know he will be looking forward to playing me too."