All Blacks great Sir Bryan Williams inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame

All Blacks legend Sir Bryan Williams has been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame overnight (NZ time), in ceremony held in England.

Sir Bryan was joined by former Irish international and Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara, former French flyhalf Pierre Villepruex and former Welsh women's player Liza Burgess to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.

The 67-year-old Williams joins the likes of former All Blacks of Jonah Lomu, Sir Colin Meads and New Zealand women's legend Farah Palmer who have received the prestigious honour.

He is the 22nd New Zealander to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Upon receiving the accolade Sir Bryan said he was proud to be named amongst greats of the game.

"It is a great honour to be inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame,"he said.

"I remember my first game in 1961 was a curtain-raiser before an All Blacks game, they were all my heroes and they inspired me.

"Nine years later, I was playing my first Test for them. I loved my time in rugby and I'm lucky to say that rugby has loved me back."

Sir Bryan made his debut for the All Blacks against South Africa in 1970 and played 113 matches for New Zealand and played 38 Tests.


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SBW, Ryan Crotty among host of All Blacks stars returning to face the Springboks

Strike weapons Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane are back in an All Blacks team looking to wrap up the Rugby Championship when they face South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.

Coach Steve Hansen has made nine personnel changes and a positional switch to his experimental starting team that saw off Argentina 46-24 in Nelson.

A fourth bonus point win from four matches would guarantee a third straight Rugby Championship crown for the world champions with two rounds of matches still to play.

Few would bet against it given the Springboks are coming off successive losses on the road and haven't won in New Zealand for nine years.

It hasn't stopped Hansen naming close to his strongest available team.

Barrett returns at five-eighth in place of Richie Mo'unga, in a first appearance since his four-try, 30-point haul against Australia at Eden Park.

One more Barrett try would give him 24 in the No.10 jersey, matching the world record set by his All Blacks predecessor Dan Carter.

Tryscoring specialist Ioane returns to the left wing, having recovered from a hamstring problem.

Six backline positions have new faces with Ben Smith the only player retained, although he moves to the right wing, with Jordie Barrett restored at fullback.

The halves and centres are both overhauled. Aaron Smith is halfback and Anton Lienert-Brown the outside centre while inside centre Ryan Crotty returns from a month on the sideline following a concussion early in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney.

There is a place on the bench for Sonny Bill Williams, whose recuperation from a shoulder injury stretches back nearly three months.

Up front is more settled.

First-choice flankers Sam Cane and Liam Squire are recalled while Luke Whitelock replaces fellow lock veteran Brodie Retallick, who is injured.

Barrett carried the bottles for the team against the Pumas and said he learned from the experience. Source: 1 NEWS

The other lock is Scott Barrett, who will start alongside brothers Jordie and Beauden.

Whitelock's return means three centurions are in a battle-hardened pack, alongside Owen Franks and captain Kieran Read.

Forwards Patrick Tuipulotu and Liam Coltman have won rare selections, both on the bench.

ALL BLACKS: Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (capt), Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Karl Tu'inukuafe. Res: Liam Coltman, Tim Perry, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Damian McKenzie.

Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty during the warm-up.
New Zealand All Blacks v Australian Wallabies. Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship test match. Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 25 August 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty during the warm-up. Source: Photosport


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Opinion: There's more to life and rugby than money, Lima

Before I dive in, I just want to say I understand where Lima Sopoaga is coming from.

For guys from a "low socio-economic background" as he put it in his interview with the Guardian, huge offers from overseas can be tempting and one that All Blacks have started taking more often in recent years.

Whether it’s for family, the future or simply the fortune, there’s no denying Kiwi rugby talent is becoming harder to keep on our shores.

But there's a couple minor details Lima didn't mention when he sent this warning to the All Blacks about the changing times.

One, the guys that are going aren't the go-to stars.

It’s harsh, I know, but let’s be honest. When you look at the list of former All Blacks who have left our shores in recent years for the UK, none of them jump out as the 'one who got away' do they?

Charlies Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Aaron Cruden, Steven Luatua and Julian Savea are just a few to leave since the 2015 World Cup but they were fringe players at best.

But, once again, hats off to them. They've gone and secured a future for themselves and their families that some can only dream of and it’s respectable that they adjusted their dreams of being an All Black or a world champion or whatever else for their families. There's no arguing that is a commendable act.

Other guys like Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith left to get a handsome paycheck before they hung up the boots after spending most of their careers adding to the legacy of the black jersey, so there’s not much to argue about there either.

The Chiefs coach said he's focused on the team's quarter-final, not speculation regarding Nonu.
Source: 1 NEWS

But that brings me to the next point.

Money doesn’t last forever but legacies do. For the guys who spend the larger part of their careers chasing and earning the black jersey, it’s almost like their names get woven into its fabric.

Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu – even Tony Woodcock after that stunning 2011 try. World class players at their position who will go down as some of the game’s best and if you look up a picture of them, it’ll be in a black jersey.

They could’ve gone overseas. They could’ve taken the big money. But as McCaw said in his film, he always set out on being a "G.A.B".

What kid doesn’t want that? Fame and riches are well and good but if you are considered one of the best in the world at your position, why would you ever want to leave arguably the best sports team on the planet when you can add to its history?

Sopoaga is right in saying the game has become a business and the "riches of Europe" are going to appeal more and more to "young guys" but going as far as saying "things are starting to change" in relation to the All Blacks is pushing it.

I can’t speak for the likes of the current youthful stars of the All Blacks but it’s fair to say there haven’t been many rumours of them being tempted off-shore by European clubs.

Again, this isn’t a dig at Sopoaga’s choice or anyone else’s for that matter but just a gentle reminder you can’t put a value on the black jersey.

And if you ever need a reminder of that, look up Karl Tu’inukuafe’s debut from earlier this year against France – I think everyone can agree a teary-eyed moment like that is truly priceless.

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08:  Lima Sopoaga of Wasps offloads the ball during a Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and Exeter Chiefs at Ricoh Arena on September 8, 2018 in Coventry, United Kingdom.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Lima Sopoaga of Wasps offloads the ball during a Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and Exeter Chiefs at Ricoh Arena in Coventry, United Kingdom. Source: Getty


Watch: NZ Sevens stars surprise AIMS Games athletes with trophies from successful World Cup campaigns

Three New Zealand Sevens players have surprised thousands of students in Tauranga with both the men's and women's Sevens Rugby World Cup trophies.

Scott Curry, Ruby Tui and Risaleaana Pouri-Lane visited the AIMS Games at Blake Park today, signing autographs and more importantly taking selfies with the students.

Curry told 1 NEWS "the cup is New Zealand's cup" and to see the reaction from those lining up for a photo is why the teams work so hard.

He added it's "pretty cool for kids to be involved in sevens" and hopes he can inspire others to the join the game.

Black Fern Ruby Tui says it's "amazing" to see women's rugby growing in popularity.

She says people are "getting onboard" understanding the women's results and competitions.

"The Prime Minister know what's going on in our season," she says.

Meanwhile, Curry says the team hopes to qualify for the Olympics by winning the next World Series starting in Dubai at the end of the year.

The All Blacks Sevens finished third in the last series behind the Flying Fijians and Blitzbokke.

"I think it's maybe been nine years since we've won Dubai, so it's definitely a motivating factor for us heading there.

"I don't why we haven’t won that tournament for so long," Curry says.

Scott Curry said showing kids the silverware will hopefully inspire the next generation of world champions. Source: 1 NEWS