RUGBY UNION: Sonny Bill Williams has a warning for rivals as he prepares for his return to Super Rugby for the Blues against the Highlanders on Saturday night.
The code-hopping Rugby World Cup winner has not played since rupturing his Achilles playing for New Zealand in the Rio Olympic sevens tournament.
But the 33-year-old All Black said he had used that eight months wisely and would be in the best shape of his career when he comes off the bench at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
"I've been working pretty hard in the gym and out of the gym, just being real diligent in all of those little things I needed to do, and also trying to upskill myself from a game understanding point of view," Williams said yesterday.
"I feel like I've gotten a little bit faster - I've just been diligent in my preparation, and I've been diligent every day, making sure I tick those boxes because there's a lot of them to tick
"It's been a long journey, but I'm itching to get back out there now."
Williams, who won NRL titles with the Roosters and Canterbury in his rugby league career, said the injury had given him appreciation for where he was and what he did.
"Trying to be grateful every day was the key, but then also making that decision early on that I was going to come back in better shape, better nick, than before the injury," he said.
"Time will tell if that will happen, but I'm certainly in a good frame of mind.
"I'm not going out there to set the world on fire, but I'm going out there to work hard and just be competitive."
Blues coach Tana Umaga said Williams' attitude and work ethic meant he was returning in excellent form.
"He doesn't leave any stone unturned - it's getting back, but he's wanted to come back better as well and he feels a lot better than he did prior to the injury," the coach said.
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