SBW calls for Māori All Black coach

By Jamie Wall

Sam Cane and Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams has made a suggestion that there should be more brown faces in the All Black coaching set up. He and Sam Cane faced the media today in Tokyo, two days after the team’s semi final loss to England.

When asked about Ian Foster’s credentials for taking over the top job after Steve Hansen’s impending retirement, Williams quickly veered off to talking about the diversity in coaching.

“One thing I’d put to the NZRU is that it would be good to see a Pacific Islander or Māori, because the way that the game’s going today is that there is a lot of Island boys, a lot of Maori boys that play for the All Blacks” he told media.

“I’m just thinking how can we get a lot more out of those boys and I know there’s a bit of space there for that growth.”

One candidate could be Jamie Joseph, who has been lauded after leading Japan to an historic first quarter final appearance. Joseph is of of Rangitāne, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Rārua descent, and his stock has steadily risen since he’s taken charge of the Japanese side.

Dave Rennie is of Cook Island descent and coached the Chiefs to two Super Rugby titles, but now plies his trade in Glasgow and has been linked to the now vacant Wallabies job.

The only other real candidate would be former All Black and Manu Samoa player Pat Lam, who is in charge of the Bristol Bears in the English Premiership. Lam would have to give that job up and move back to New Zealand if that were to happen, however.

In other coaching news, NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew ruled out the possibility of Warren Gatland taking the All Blacks’ job, with the former Waikato flanker set to coach the British & Irish Lions in 2021.

Meanwhile, Williams and flanker Sam Cane talked about the difficulty of dealing with the loss and how having family around helped.

“For me I’ve been through a lot in my career…I always try and look at things with a gratitude mindset.”