3 Jun 2009

Collins backs Sonny Bill in union

11:36 am on 3 June 2009

The former All Black Jerry Collins has backed Sonny Bill Williams to become an All Black, but also demanded the critics lay off the former National Rugby League star as he learns the union game.

Williams completed his first training run with the Barbarians in Sydney on Tuesday as he prepares to make his debut on Australian soil in the 15-man game against the Wallabies on Saturday night.

Williams ran at outside centre with the invitational side.

Asked if he could be a future All Black, the laconic Collins, who played with Williams at French club Toulon this year, said: "Yeah, pretty much."

But Collins warned against placing unrealistic expectations on the former Kiwi second-rower.

Collins says Williams has only been playing for seven months and hopefully he'll be playing for longer than that so the media should lay off him and not give him too much of a hard time.

The Barbarians will name their team today.