Deans backs Williams

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans has expressed the utmost confidence in All Black lock Ali Williams despite his recent disciplinary problems with both the All Blacks and the Blues.

Deans, who is the most successful coach in the history of Super Rugby – he has won four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders – believes Williams has a lot to offer to the Crusaders team and that he could play a significant role the 2008 season.

“Ali [Williams] is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve both on and off the field and players who do that, guys who are spontaneous and energetic and enthusiastic about their work and life, really rub off on the people around them,” Deans told the Sunday News

The Crusaders coach explained that it would be to the team’s detriment if Williams wasn’t accepted with open arms by the Canterbury franchise.

“No one needs to be stifled. And we certainly won’t be trying to do that with Ali [Williams]. We are all special cases, aren’t we? We’re all unique. It’s up to us to allow Ali [Williams] to bring everything that makes him unique to the Crusaders and allow him to grow,” said Deans.

Williams has had a rough time of it in New Zealand domestic rugby over the past two years. Williams was at the receiving end of a six match ban after stomping on the head of Crusaders captain Richie McCaw in a 2005 Super 14 fixture.

The 26-year-old lock worked hard to regain his form following the incident, but threw it all away again in the 2007 Super 14 when a vote from senior players in the Blues team sent him home during the South African tour.

His relationship with the Blues has since broken down, resulting in Williams’s decision to move south for the 2008 season. The positive Deans believes Williams has a bright future with the Crusaders.

“He will grow. We saw him grow at the World Cup and I have no doubt he will continue to do that,” added Deans.

“I’m really keen for his move from the Blues to work and I have no doubt that it will.

“His enthusiasm was really evident amongst the group [at Wednesday’s induction ceremony],” said Deans.


365 Digital

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