Springbok utility back Jesse Kriel has revealed how former All Black and double Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams has impacted his career.
Williams enjoyed plenty of success in the Black jersey and was the envy of many a player with his ability to offload the ball in contact.
That skill was something South African utility back Jesse Kriel picked up on and was keen to add to his game.
Kriel made his test his debut back in 2015 and has since gone on to earn 46 test caps and was involved in the Springboks Rugby World Cup success before injury struck ending his tournament prematurely.
The 2019 World Cup was Kriel's second tournament having gone to the 2015 tournament in England where New Zealand knocked the Springboks out in the semi-final with Kriel and SBW sharing a moment after the game.
Speaking on the Rugby Bricks podcast, Kriel said a particular fancy flick, mastered by Williams, was always on his list to perfect.
"One of the most satisfying things … I never use to really offload much," he said
"Then obviously playing against a guy like Sonny Bill a lot, he's a great guy, great player, I use to admire that pass he did and it was something I really wanted to add to my game."
"Couple of seasons back, first game of the season, John Mitchell was actually our coach, and in the preseason I was working really hard with our skills guy at the Bulls.
"After every session I used to do 10 or 15 backhand passes, just squaring up the guy, getting that fend out and then getting that pass away to a support runner. First game of Super Rugby at Loftus, we got the Hurricanes … squared up [Julian] Savea, he came in from his wing to adjust, got that little pass away and it was a nice little assist for a try."
The Bulls went on to win the clash by just two points.
"That's where you get that satisfaction from all those little extras throughout a preseason, something that you really worked hard on and then it comes to reality in a game. Those are what you put all the hours in for, those little moments," Kriel said.