The 1014 discuss Sonny Bill Williams and how his role is changing with the All Blacks.

We believe he has been asked to modify the way he operates because of another special player, Beauden Barrett.

When SBW burst onto the scene for the All Blacks in 2010 we all knew he was a special talent. This talent only really started to come through in the third Test against the Irish in 2012. Playing outside Aaron Cruden, SBW was basically given carte blanche to work his magic and work it he did.

On his return from League and in the lead-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Steve Hansen described SBW as the third punch in a three punch combo. With this, he was referring to the midfield of Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith and SBW.

But something happened in 2016 that no one really expected and that was the galactical arrival of Beauden Barrett. We believe the carte blanche batton has been handed to Barrett and now SBW is modifying his game in a more traditional way. This certainly hasn’t stopped the trademark offloads – he is still the highest in that department in The Rugby Championship. But subtle variations are creeping into his game.

Sonny Bill Williams is still leading the offloads but are they more subtle now?
Sonny Bill Williams is still leading the offloads but are they more subtle now?


Check out the following video where we discuss how we see the new SBW.


Let us know what you think. Have we missed the boat or are you seeing this evolution as well?

The 1014 Rugby

Author: The 1014 Rugby

The 1014 is servicing the needs of a passionate and respectful global rugby community by producing world-class content based on three important values – Passion, Integrity and Respect.
All content is through the pure eyes of two children starting out on their journey in life. The 10 and 14 represent the two characters on this journey and everything produced is through their outlook on life.


  1. SBW is a real special player. To change the way you play is difficult. Also to attempt a new style when you old style is still very good takes guts and skill.

    • Totally agree with all that you are saying here, Donovan. He is a special talent who can do special things. Totally believe he can modify his game and take it to a new more mature level. Cheers

  2. Could you possibly please expand on what you meant when you said that the coaching panel have stripped responsibility from Barrett – because he was feeling overloaded with tactical stuff? Surely a world class 10 should be able to cope with that sort of thing? It’s actually a little confusing what you are trying to say about Barrett here, if he can’t cope would they not just give the jersey to Sopoaga?. Interesting video though and I had thought SBW was changing his game.

    • Thanks for the comment Leigh K. When we went back through what we filmed we realised that that didn’t make a lot of sense because we didn’t expand on it. Your question is incredibly valid.
      Basically, the coaches have recognised that he plays on instinct and was being burdened by a coaching playbook. He is a once in a generation player, a special player. So they made the call to let him play exactly how he sees it and others to make decisions. He makes some decisions, but the decisions are spread across numerous players. They very rarely get this sort of thing wrong.


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