Sonny Bill admits rules blunder

Sonny Bill Williams (centre) drops the ball as he is tackled by Mathieu Bastareau at Stade de...
Sonny Bill Williams (centre) drops the ball as he is tackled by Mathieu Bastareau at Stade de France. Photo: Getty Images

Sonny Bill Williams has put his hand up for forgetting the rules last week in Paris but claims officials have since apologised for sending him to the sin bin.

Williams was yellow carded after intentionally knocking the ball dead from a cross-field kick in the All Blacks' 38-18 win over France.

Angus Gardner. Photo: Getty Images
Angus Gardner. Photo: Getty Images

Australian referee Angus Gardner, in consultation with his match officials, decided Williams' foul warranted a yellow card and penalty try that put the All Blacks under huge pressure and saw the momentum swing in France's favour.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen needed assistant Ian Foster to explain some of the finer details but had no issue with the decision when asked post match.

"I learnt a lesson from Foster that once you've committed an offence in the goal area it's like you're not there; they make you invisible and they felt the French man was going to catch the ball so it was a try and you can't do too much about that."

Williams has since copped some gentle ribbing from team-mates, but suggested Gardner volunteered an apology over the yellow card.

"It was just an honest mistake as humans we're allowed to make those now and then," Williams said ahead of this weekend's test against Scotland in Edinburgh.

"I remember laying on the ground and I looked up and big Jim [Damian McKenzie] and I said 'bro am I allowed to do that?' He looked at me and shook his head.

"It was an honest mistake just like the ref sending me off was an honest mistake. He came out afterwards and said he shouldn't have sent me off. The penalty was awarded but he said he made that mistake by sending me off. It is what it is that's footy but I've certainly been looking up the rule book."

Blues team-mate Rieko Ioane gave an insight into the lighthearted jibes Williams had received this week.

"He forgets what sport he is playing he does boxing and league and changes up between the three but we'll forgive him for that."

Williams was otherwise superb in Paris. He frequently carried hard, defended strongly and set up midfield partner Ryan Crotty with a perfectly-weighted grubber in the first half.

All season the All Blacks have praised Williams' defensive work, but he now appears to be finding his attacking mojo too.

"It's just game-time together. I've played a lot of footy with Crots," Williams said. "It's been nice playing alongside him because I feel like we bring the best out in each other. Saturday proved that again."

Unaware the All Blacks have never lost to Scotland in 30 matches dating back to 1905, Williams is keen to avoid being part of the first team to suffer defeat at Murrayfield.

"I wasn't aware of that but obviously it is [motivation]. As All Blacks when we go out on that field we put pressure on ourselves not to just win but perform well. Saturday will be no different."

- By Liam Napier 

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