Now that the official playing pools for this summers Rio Olympic games have been announced, final preparations leading into the home stretch have well and truly begun in earnest.
To that end, Gordon Tietjens is poised to announce his New Zealand sevens squad this Sunday with a keen glare focused on the challenge presented from the difficult Group A they coincide in with the likes of Japan; Signapore champions Kenya and Britain who contain a considerable contingent of the London sevens winners; with union convert Sonny Bill Williams fully expected to be included in the title chasing squad.
However the two-time World Cup winning All Black has recently stated to the media his plans should his side claim gold with regard to the fabled medallion.
In times past Sonny Bill has displayed a quantifiable amount of humility what with handing over his 2015 World Cup medal to a young pitch invader, as well as his first piece of sevens silverware claimed at the Wellington sevens.
Williams has stated that he does not feel the need to hold onto any potential medal if Tietjens men should succeed with no apparent desire for materialistic trinkets such is the content of his character, however the talisman does have a beneficiary in mind this time round:
“My wife has already said that if, God willing, I make it to the Olympics and win a medal, then it’s going straight on my daughter – I can’t give it away,” Williams told the Daily Mail.
Such an act of humility and generosity is testament to the nature of the man, and much of this according to himself boils down to his faith. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail the former Waikato Chief spoke of how much of an impact his religion has had on him as a person with a troubled past, describing himself as a ‘scallywag’ in his formative years:
“Never in my wildest dreams would that young fella that went to Australia be here right now,” Williams said.
“It’s such a blessing to be with my wife and children. I used to be a bit of a scallywag. I did a lot of bad things and went off course but Allah was with me.”
However balancing faith with his professional responsibilities doesn’t come without it’s challenges:
“When I’m most happy is when I’m doing my prayers,” Williams said.
“When you travel you can compensate by joining the two afternoon prayers and the two evening prayers together, which is pretty sweet.
“How can you not spare 25 minutes of your day to give thanks? I look at where I came from and feel blessed.
“The chefs provide halal food. I get kind of embarrassed when they make a big deal out of it. I just want to fit in and be one of the boys, but at the same time faith is where everything comes from.
“If there’s no halal meat, I can eat seafood. If there’s no seafood, I’ll just have a shake or something. There are people worse off than I am.”
Read the full interview here: dailymail.co.uk