Sonny Bill Williams made his sevens debut this weekend against Russia; his first touch of the ball being a try. As impressive as that sounds, he’s not quite first rate yet.
Coming on as a sub against Russia, he had chosen the right line in support and he ended up being right on the shoulder when the offload came.
Against Scotland, SBW began the match and he had a few moments of offensive brilliance, including a magnificent trademark SWB offload. His all round game was sound, he ran good lines but it was clear he is still coming to terms with this version of the game.
Against the Blitzbokke, Sonny Bill came off the bench with some three minutes to go and at first was invisible. Even worse, when New Zealand were in a right pickle, having spent over a minute in their own half under severe pressure, he tried to offload the ball, but without support players Cheslin Kolbe pounced and had an easy run in under the posts.
However, with New Zealand trailing and time up, he did produce the goods. Taking on two Boks, he offloaded into space, giving Joe Webber a clear run to the line. After the match SBW was humble as always. He gave all the credit to the team and claimed he is still learning.
When watching his first day of sevens at this level, it is very clear he is still learning too. He is an absolute class player in both codes, but sevens is a different beast. His skills and fitness helps him through, but it is the vision and speed that are still lacking.
With much more space on offer, the pace of the game much higher and every mistake potentially costing a try, those are the things most of us struggle with when summer comes.
Williams has had a crash course over the New Zealand summer and it has done wonders. But it is obvious he still has a way to go, as he, no doubt, will freely admit.
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena