NZ media tells Sonny Bill Williams to ‘shove it’
SIX weeks out from the Rugby World Cup, Sonny Bill Williams finds himself out of the All Blacks line-up and in the crosshairs of the New Zealand media.
Williams will miss the opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Perth on August 10 as he seeks to regain fitness following another injury-plagued season.
His critics argue there are more deserving centres in the ultra-competitive All Blacks selection race, as an ageing Williams continues to struggle to string consistent performances together.
But Williams doesn't want to hear about it, responding to recent reporting by telling his critics to "get your priorities right".
"I find it very interesting when so called 'private' conversations end up in the media," the 33-year-old tweeted.
"And for those that say I'm under pressure playing a game that I enjoy. Get your priorities right. Look at what's going on in the world. Starving children, the single mother raising 3 kids, the atrocities refugees are facing around the world, racism. This is what I call pressure."
Well, that was like waving a red rag to a bull when it came to the Kiwi press.
New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue led the swift rebuke of Williams, comparing him unfavourably to Israel Folau.
"(Williams' tweet) ignores the simple concept that people can be obsessed with sport and concerned about the plight of others at the same time," Rattue wrote.
"And it's easy for a veteran sports star, and yes, an often brilliant and groundbreaking sports star, to pontificate so.
"Some of the blokes His Royal Highness may keep out of the World Cup will be feeling the pressure, and they may even hold concerns about world events at the same time.
"I'd prefer to be force fed the pathetic religious ramblings of Israel Folau, because they are at least genuinely held, if misguided.
"SBW's casual use of world tragedies for his own purpose is narcissism dressed up as altruism. A man who claims he is feeling no pressure sounds like a man under pressure. So take that sermon and shove it SBW."
Ex-Kiwi cricketer Mark Richardson also took a swing.
"I'd suggest that doing one's job is the most important priority for a sports journo, so do you deny the right of a sports journo to do their job, Sonny Bill? So they can feed their families, Sonny Bill?" asked Richardson on The AM Show.
"Just like you get paid to do your job Sonny Bill, which I assume is a priority of yours to care for your family Sonny Bill."
Richardson's co-host Duncan Garner also decided to join in on the rant against the All Black.
"Sonny Bill, he's precious," Garner said.
To which Richardson replied: "Honestly Sonny, yes there are people struggling in the world and yes we care about them.
"But you are an All Black. Get over yourself and let people in this country talk what they like to talk and that is rugby."
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