Williams nervous but ready for challenge

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Lynn McConnell     28 Sep 2018     Getty Images

Out of Test action since the June series against France, Williams has been included in Sunday's side and is partnered with Ryan Crotty, who will move out to centre.

Williams said it felt like it had been a while since he played but he was grateful to be back in the squad. While missing out on selection was disappointing for those affected, the bond they had as a midfield unit soon took over and they concentrated on doing their best for the players chosen.

There was some nervousness associated with being back in the spotlight on the field but he tried to thrive on that and understand the task ahead of them.

Argentina had come off a big win, they'd had a great tour and now were back home and ready to go, he said.

"When you're in an environment that is so successful it drives success and the pressure to perform and not just win…The times that I have been involved with a loss we delve deeper into the solutions and we have those tough conversations that need to be had. We've done that this week," he said.

Wing Rieko Ioane, who didn't play the first game against Argentina, said he had been impressed with the footwork of his opposite Bautista Delguy and it was always exciting to come up against players so good in their position and the best players in the world.

They at least had the ability within their own squad to prepare for players with similar skills and Nehe Milner-Skudder was an efficient stepper while Williams was also and that was invaluable ahead of the game, he said.

Williams had been taking in some of the social side of Argentina, being hosted by Pumas player Javier Ortega Desio at his home as the result of a long-standing friendship they have, and also being part of a group of All Blacks who visited San Martin prison where rugby is used as part of the rehabilitation of prisoners.

"They've done it so smart, a lot of their purpose or their vision there is to play rugby. They try and feed that," Williams said.

"They've got a massive rugby field, when you go in their cells there's paintings of rugby players everywhere. Obviously the lingo they use in there is all about rugby, rugby, rugby but then when you chuck in, 'if you don't get your educational standards up to scratch you're not going to be able to play rugby' then you get the change.

"So they've started off small then they've seen the benefits of it then they've gone to the governments and said, 'look, can we get some funding?' which they have so that's awesome. I hear that it's in over a hundred prisons world-wide and they're looking at getting it into New Zealand as well so it's a great initiative," he said.