Williams says 2015 a step up from 2011
Sonny Bill Williams said the Rugby World Cup experience in 2015 is a step up from what he felt when helping New Zealand win the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011.
Then, he was still getting used to rugby at the highest level but he said in Cardiff on Monday that the intensity of the 2015 tournament had taken up another step and the All Blacks were well aware of what they were in for at the weekend.
"This is what we have been building for as a squad. It's knock-out footie and it's all on. We just want to get out there and give it our best shot," he said.
Williams also knows what French coach Philippe Saint-Andre will be cooking up with his side.
When he first played rugby in France, Saint-Andre was his coach.
"He was an awesome coach and he really brought out the best in me. He helped me kick-start my ambitions to go back to New Zealand and have a crack at the All Blacks' jersey.
"When I first started I wanted to play in the forwards, but then there were some injuries and I ended up in the backs. It just happened like that. I was fortunate to be coached by those guys, like Philippe and Tana [Umaga]," Williams said.
He recalled that Saint-Andre's advice to him was to make sure he was there for the set plays and to back his instincts.
"Then I started playing some pretty good footie, but I think he knows each individual in his side and knows their strengths. Hopefully it doesn't work this weekend," he said.
Williams had no links with the ill-fated 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to France in Cardiff.
"I didn't even watch the game. I was playing rugby league then.
"I just remember a week after when I flew back into New Zealand, it was a pretty sad time. But the past is the past and the future is the future.
"No matter what anyone says, it is all about Sunday, and it's going to be a great game. I think everyone should make sure they watch because it is going to be an awesome, entertaining game," he said.
Replacement prop Joe Moody has joined the side in Cardiff. He said he got off the plane on Sunday, then had a three-hour train ride but was feeling good a day later and had a run-around on Monday.
He said while his call-up had come out of the blue, he was ready and excited for the challenge and he was aiming to prove himself in any opportunities he got.