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Hansen: My major SBW concern

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'I'm not so confident about the durability - you can't say he's shown that of late'

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has delivered a telling message to Sonny Bill Williams – take it easy. 

Williams’ career in recent years has been placed by injury. He was limited to only three starts in the Blues underwhelming Super Rugby season.

His clearance to play club rugby the past two weekends for Ponsonby resulted in further disappointment as he failed to take the field this weekend due to a tight hamstring issue picked up in All Blacks training. 

This latest injury has cast a doubt over his availability for the opening round Rugby Championship match on July 20 in Buenos Aires. 

The midfielder’s ongoing lack of durability has left New Zealand coach Hansen concerned and he took to the airwaves to express this anxiety ahead of the looming start to the Test season.

“I’m very confident we’ll get him back into form, I’m not so confident about the durability – you can’t say he’s shown that of late,” said Hansen to Radio Sport’s Jim Kayes. 

“We have got to be patient. I think the biggest problem with Sonny at the moment is he’s trying really hard to force himself to get on the park. 

“When you get injured, a better process is to take your time, take your time, take your time, and come in with a slow build up. Then you’ve got the mileage under your belt for your body to be able to take it.

“He doesn’t have that luxury so he’s forcing it and getting wee tweaks and strains. We’ll just be patient and see, we don’t have to make decisions until later on. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, he’s played a lot of test matches and he’s no different to anyone else in that situation.”

Williams suffered a 10-week lay-off during the Blues’ Super Rugby campaign, appearing in Wellington against the Hurricanes on June 15 following knee surgery. 

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'I'm not so confident about the durability - you can't say he's shown that of late'