Anton Lienert-Brown has revealed Sonny Bill Williams as his inspiration growing up and that it is quite “special” to be in this environment with his hero.
The 24-year-old has partnered Williams in the mid-field previously for the All Blacks and could find himself playing outside his idol sometime during the World Cup.
“Growing up he was someone I looked up to," Lienert-Brown said of Williams.
“I’m half-Samoan, half-Kiwi just like him, so I guess that was an instant connection and to see his achievements and how he went about his work was truly inspiring.”
Lienert-Brown added it was special that he now has a good relationship with his idol and is grateful to be playing in the same team as him.
“I never ever thought that I’d be in the same team as him one day," he said.
“So to be in this environment with him is awesome and I guess to call him a mate is pretty special now.
“He’s just one of the greatest men you can meet on and off the field.”
The All Blacks will name their first team on Thursday which could possibly see Williams and Lienert-Brown pairing in the centres.