All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has opened up about his often fragile relationship with the New Zealand public, often loathed as much as he's revered among the Kiwi sporting public.
Now in his second stint with the All Blacks following a two-year stint with the Sydney Roosters in 2013, Williams, 33, has taken a much more team-oriented role within Steve Hansen's side, and will start at second-five eighth against England at Twickenham tomorrow morning.
However, despite his role in mentoring youngsters like Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Rieko Ioane, Williams is still much maligned in and around the All Blacks' setup.
Speaking to the NZ Herald though, the 50-Test veteran said he isn't worried about what others think of him, despite a percieved lack of form in 2018.
"Obviously I am not where I know I can play but I am moving in the right direction and I have got complete faith in my ability," he said.
"As long as I am making steps toward that goal, I am happy. For a lot of boys, they get to come back through club rugby, Mitre 10 rugby, but I have to come through the toughest avenue in Test matches.
"That is not an excuse from me. I know where I am at and I know where I can go and I am pretty pleased with how I am going."
Williams added that even though he does cop the brunt of ire from All Blacks supporters, his biggest critic will always be himself.
"I have always had high expectations of myself because I know what I can bring," he says.
"The biggest thing for me is to be gentle with myself because the pressure I put on myself is a lot more than the pressure anyone else puts on me.
"The more minutes I have and patience I have and the mental approach I have to footy, things will click.
"I am keen to work hard and put my hand up for selection every week which is all I can do."