The imposing figure of Sonny Bill Williams is likely to pop up in a new

position in the All Blacks Rugby World Cup match against Japan on

Friday, but just where is a closely guarded secret.

The 6ft 3in

(1.91m) and 110kg Williams has played almost all his rugby at inside

centre since leaving French club Toulon last year to return to New

Zealand with a World Cup berth in mind.

He was primarily a

centre for Toulon but with a handful of games on the wing and in the

backrow after previously being a standout backrower in Australia’s

National Rugby League competition.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry

said on Thursday Williams had played well in the 41-10 win over Tonga

last week and would get another opportunity off the bench against

Japan, possibly in another position.

“He’s played all his rugby

this year virtually at 12, inside centre, and we might try and play him

elsewhere … you’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

“I don’t

want to make any rash promises here because he’s a quality footballer,

he creates opportunities, he had a big work rate last week and played


“The two centres we’ve got, (Ma’a) Nonu and (Conrad)

Smith, have played a lot of rugby together and played very well for the

All Blacks and created a high standard for the All Blacks.

“He might break in there or he might get an opportunity elsewhere. We’re just looking at that situation.”


first game for the All Blacks was at outside centre, partnering Nonu,

against England at Twickenham last November, and he came off the bench

to replace Smith in the 13 jersey against South Africa in Wellington in


His other six Tests for the All Blacks have all been at inside centre.