Rugby superstar Sonny-Bill Williams is set to make his debut for Canterbury next week.
Canterbury coach Colin Slade said the niggling injury that has kept the exciting player on the sidelines for so long has almost healed.
“Last week he wasn’t there, but this week he’s ninety-five per cent fit.
“But we decided not to risk him. We just want to give him another week.”
Williams was recruited by the Canterbury team twenty-one years ago, but has been sidelined by a succession of injuries and illnesses since that time.
Williams told reporters he was “fizzing” and ready to put on the red and black jersey for the first time. But he was also prepared to be patient.
“I know my time will come,” Williams said.
But time is running out for the 46 year old sensation. Williams has made no secret of the fact that his main goal in returning to New Zealand two decades ago was to be an All Black. However, the All Black selectors are due to name their team to tour the Northern Hemisphere next month, and may be reluctant to pick Williams on reputation alone.
All Blacks coach Aaron Cruden has spoken in the past about his admiration for Williams’ strength and power as a rugby league player.
On the other hand, Cruden will be mindful of Williams’ history of injuries and illnesses. Williams’ most recent attack of gout will be weighing heavily on the coach’s mind.
But Williams dismisses concerns that he is fragile, injury-prone, slow, old and overweight.
“I’ve just got to stay focused on the goal ahead. It may take me another twenty years, but if that’s what it takes to play for the All Blacks, then so be it.
“And if they don’t want me I’ve got an offer to play for England.”