RugbyU - All Blacks coach backs Sonny Bill

${nitf} (AFP Photo/Marty MELVILLE)

- All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has leapt to Sonny Bill Williams' defence after critics suggested the cross-code star was in decline and should be dropped. New Zealand media accused Williams of lacking his trademark attacking flair after the All Blacks' nail-biting 25-24 win over South Africa earlier this month. Hansen was having none of it when he arrived in Brisbane on Monday night ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia. Hansen acknowledged that Williams -- a two-time World Cup winner who has twice switched between rugby league and union while pursuing a boxing career -- had always been a polarising figure but rejected the notion he was in decline. "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.," Hansen said. "(But) we are quite happy with him."

AFP