Sonny Bill Williams slams Rugby World Cup stuff-up

The former New Zealand international says the lopsided World Cup draw is looking very silly after semi-final shellacking.

Sonny Bill Williams slams World Rugby draw as New Zealand hammer Argentina. Image: Getty

Sonny Bill Williams has slammed World Rugby for 'getting it wrong' after the first Rugby World Cup semi-final was a one-sided affair. The All Blacks smacked Argentina 44-6 and will face the winner of South Africa and England in the final.

The New Zealand great says the lopsided draw meant the four best teams in the world found themselves on the same side of the draw and faced one another in the quarter-finals, leaving the other side looking bare. The quarter-finals produced two thrillers with the All Blacks just edging out World No.1 Ireland and South Africa holding off France.

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“Tonight showcased where World Rugby got it wrong in terms of the ranking system," Sonny Bill Williams said on Stan Sport, speaking about the semi-final. “I really feel for France, I really feel for Ireland who are sitting at home knowing that they probably could have put on a better show than what Argentina did tonight.”

Rugby Union coach Stephen Hoiles agreed with Sonny Bill's assessment, saying the match and result was disappointing as no one likes to see a thrashing. “Sonny Bill mentioned it, it does feel like one side of the draw was very, very heavily weighted to the top four teams in the world and the other side was not," Holies said. "It proved tonight there were two different sides of the draw. ”

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The world's top four teams - South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and France - were all lumped in one side of the World Cup draw due to the fact it was made back in 2020. At that time England and Wales were ranked in the top four.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said it was done that way for planning purposes but for the next World Cup in Australia in 2027, the draw will be held "as late as possible".

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 20: Will Jordan of New Zealand scores a try during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 semi-final match between Argentina and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he has no preference on who NZ face between reigning champions South Africa or England. Image: Getty (Will Jordan of New Zealand scores a try in semi-final against Argentina) (Quality Sport Images via Getty Images)

New Zealand coach not fazed by grand final opposition

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster says he will be watching the second semi with some popcorn, insisting they are only worried about themselves. The All Blacks coach says he has no preference between reigning champions South Africa and England, who face each other on Sunday in the second semi-final.

“I’ll be watching it, have some popcorn. But I don’t care who wins,” Foster said. “We’re very much in a ‘focus about ourselves’ stage at the moment.

“South Africa have been playing some brilliant rugby but we’ve also seen an English team that has built quietly. It will be an interesting contrast of styles.”

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