EDINBURGH, Nov 13 (Reuters) - New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams combined imposing physical presence with some delightful offloads to win the man-of-the-match award in only his second rugby union international on Saturday.
Williams was a constant threat in a backline which ran a hapless Scotland side ragged at Murrayfield to record a 49-3 win in the second match of New Zealand’s grand slam tour.
After making his All Blacks debut against England at outside centre last weekend, rugby league convert Williams moved in one position closer to the scrum on Saturday.
He looked completely at home outside Daniel Carter and inside Conrad Smith as the All Blacks recorded their biggest winning margin over the Scots at Murrayfield.
Williams set up Hosea Gear’s opening score and proved a constant threat throughout the match.
“He’ll be obviously pleased with how he’s playing,” said head coach Graham Henry. “He has an amazing ability to offload in the tackle and it’s a great asset.
“I still think he’s getting his feet under the table and getting comfortable at this level.
“I still think there is a wee way to go. He can go to a higher standard in the future but it was a very pleasing performance from him.”
Captain Richie McCaw was less restrained.
“He is a real threat with the ball and he wants to fit in and it’s not always about him crashing it,” McCaw said. “It’s just great to have him playing like that.”
Henry pointed to the All Blacks’ composure and skills in scoring seven converted tries.
“The boys had patience tonight, the skill level was high and we scored a few tries and that was pleasing and we would like to continue in that vein,” he said.
“We went up a couple of levels in physicality and I think that is pleasing.”
Scotland had no idea how to cope with the vision and creativity displayed by the visitors and they now have to face world champions South Africa, who have also won the first two matches of their grand slam tour.
“We’ve really let the nation down today and it’s about how we come back from that,” said coach Andy Robinson.
“I’m confident in the squad that we can do that but it’s a tough day.
“We need to get that cutting edge in attack and at times we ran with the ball well but every time we turned the ball over they had the ability to move the ball and score.
“We will sit and watch the game a few times, everybody will be challenged and I’ve explained to the players and the whole 22 that they have to look at themselves and so do I.
“They scored seven tries and I believe we should be able to stop seven tries at this level.”
Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org