All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has fiercely come to the defence of Sonny Bill Williams, saying detractors of the midfielder's game have got him completely misread.
Despite a solid defensive performance in the All Blacks' 25-24 win over the Springboks two weeks ago where he made 23 tackles, critics have targeted the 32-year-old's apparent deterioration of attacking flair - the skills that made him a standout performer early in his All Blacks career.
When a reporter asked Hansen how he would decide Williams' current form heading into this weekend's Bledisloe Test against the Wallabies, the coach had had enough.
"He is playing well," Hansen said.
"When he is a flashy player everyone moans about him being too flashy, and that he doesn't do the hard work.
"At the moment he is doing all the hard work and probably not as much as the other stuff that people get excited about. But he is in the leadership group, he is leading well and has a major influence on the young guys with his training habits.
"He is getting down and dirty and doing the hard work. We are quite happy with him."
Hansen added management haven't instructed Williams to rein in his trademark offloads - a skill he has displayed considerably less this season.
"He is trying to make good decisions and sometimes, like all players, he gets them right and sometimes he doesn't," Hansen added.
"He has always been a player who has been loved by you blokes (in the media) or hated by you blokes. It is a 50-50 split. When he does things wrong all the haters get on top of it, and when he does things right all the good guys get on top of it.
"He is a good international rugby player."