Sonny Bill stars in the halves for Roosters

STEVE JANCETIC
Last updated 13:53 02/07/2013
Sonny Bill Williams
Getty Images
SILKY SKILLS: Sonny Bill Williams puts in a kick against Manly.

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Having played second five-eighth for the All Blacks, Sonny Bill Williams claims filling in at five-eighth for the Sydney Roosters is a breeze - admitting his stint in rugby union took his playmaking skills to another level.

As he watches on in amazement at Israel Folau's speedy transition to the 15-man game, Williams says he is appreciating the extra room rugby league affords playmakers.

Having made his name in rugby league as a wide-running back-rower capable of freakish offloads, Williams has showcased his playmaking since returning to the game - never more so than in Monday night's win over Manly.

Filling in for the injured James Maloney at pivot - Williams ran the show for the Roosters, with a hand in three of his side's four tries.

"I probably look at it as added pressure," Williams said of playing five-eighth.

"I played second five [in rugby union] - and that's pretty much like a half - against Australia for the All Blacks.

"Those games under pressure when the line's right up, it's probably a little bit tougher.

"When you come through things like that your mental strength improves.

"Not having to do as much ugly stuff out there is probably a bit better as well."

Having walked out on Canterbury midway through 2008, Williams did not play for the All Blacks until November 2010.

He marvels at Folau's rapid ascension through the ranks to play for the Wallabies against the Lions, a stunning rise given he was all but signed, sealed and delivered to NRL club Parramatta before salary cap complications led to his signing with the Waratahs.

"Players like that, you want to watch," Williams said of Folau.

"They're big game players, some of the things he does out there I don't think anyone else can do or just a select few players can.

"I quite enjoy watching him and seeing how he goes.

"It's just amazing how quick he's learnt the game, whether it be at fullback or wing."

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