In the next instalment of our RugbyPass Legends series, Martin Devlin sits down for a two-part interview with 77-Test former All Blacks lock Ali Williams. In the exclusive interview, Williams discusses the ethos of the All Blacks, lessons learned from the shock 2007 World Cup defeat at the hands of France and the decision to stay in New Zealand for another World Cup run in 2011.

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In part one of the Ali Williams interview, he revealed the feeling after crashing out of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France during the quarterfinal stage.

That finish was the All Blacks’ worst ever.

“It was tough,” Williams said. “You lead up to it, you’re still the most dominant team in the world. You’re winning 85 or 90 percent in those four years leading up to that game.”

“You look at the opposition. You always respect the fact that anyone can beat you on any given day but you don’t expect to lose in a quarter final.”

On referee Wayne Barnes’ influence on the match – the English official famously missed a forward pass in the lead up to Yannick Jauzion’s match-winning try – Williams admitted the players were at fault much more than the man in the middle.

“I think we feel that potentially things were taken out of our control a little bit, but then I think, in looking at it, we’re responsible for 90 percent of it. The ref’s got ten percent,” he said.

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Watch above to hear the rest of what Ali had to say about his time with the All Blacks, and keep an eye out for part two.

Catch the previous instalment of our Legends series here:

RugbyPass Legends – Alan Whetton

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