Biography

Ali is one of those gifted people who might have made it big in a number of sports. His natural athleticism saw him represent Auckland as a youngster in soccer, tennis and cricket before he committed himself to rugby during 1999 in his last year at Kings College. From then things happened quickly for the classy lineout jumper and fearless defender.

He spent time with the Auckland Rugby Academy before Wayne Pivac plucked him from club competition to make his provincial debut in 2001. The next year he was picked for the Blues and a few months later found himself in a Black jersey on the All Blacks 2002 tour of England, France and Wales. He was 21.

It was almost too good to be true. Disappointment and injury followed. The All Blacks lost in the semi-final at the World Cup in 2003 and a cracked bone in Ali’s foot meant he struggled for full fitness during 2004. He sees losing his place in the test team as something of a blessing. “You realise what you had. Losing it makes you go that bit extra to get it back.”

Ali has improved his scrummaging and enjoys the grit and hard work involved in such a physical contest. “That’s where the locks are meant to be, rather than doing the flash stuff,” he says, though he’s no mean runner having scored his first try for Auckland after a 30 metre sprint and his third from halfway.

And who could forget his artful spur-of-the-moment punt into the waiting arms of Doug Howlett for the second of the winger’s three tries in the Tri-Nations decider against the Wallabies in September? Assistant coach Steve Hansen noted it was no fluke, that Williams was “putting his hand up and showing a full range of skills”. Hansen also revealed the faith coach Graham Henry had in Williams when the lock’s form was below par. At one point during 2004, said Hansen, the boss was the only one pushing for Williams’ reselection.

His ambition is not about Grand Slams or World Cups but something closer to home: “I want to reach the potential of my personal capabilities, be as good as I can be. I think I’m far from that yet.”

When he’s not training or playing you may find him out on the Hauraki Gulf, where he goes fishing with younger brother, Jay, to get away from it all.

He studied business at AUT before rugby took over and plans to return to it.

Ali’s Best Moments in Rugby

1. His first test match, against England at Twickenham. Even though the All Blacks lost narrowly, he impressed one of the game’s icons. “Martin Johnson gave me his jersey and wished me good luck. That was very special coming from someone like him.”

2. Beating the Lions in the first test last year, particularly the way it was done, out-muscling, out-smarting and overwhelming their much-vaunted forward pack. It was satisfying, says Ali, to silence their notoriously lippy forwards.

PERSONAL STATISTICS

Born: 30/4/1981, Auckland
Physical: 2.02m 112kg
Educated at: Kings College
Team Position: Lock
Super 14 team: Crusaders, Blues
NPC Team: Tasman, Auckland
Test Debut: 9/11/2002

GAME STATISTICS

Team Period Games Tries
All Blacks 02-08 60 7
Crusaders 08 15 3
Blues 02-07, 09 53 1
Auckland 01-07 31 4
World Cup 03, 07 8 2

ALL BLACKS 2008
Iveco Series 2008

Date Game Venue Result
07 Jun All Blacks v Ireland Wellington 21-11 NZ
14 Jun All Blacks v England Auckland 37-20 NZ
21 Jun All Blacks v England Christchurch 44-12 NZ
3 Sep All Blacks v Samoa New Plymouth 101-14 NZ

TRI-NATIONS 2008

Date Game Venue Result
05 Jul New Zealand v South Africa Wellington 19-8 NZ
12 Jul New Zealand v South Africa Dunedin 28-30 SA
20 Jul Australia v South Africa Perth 16-9 AU
26 Jul Australia v New Zealand Sydney 34-19 AU
02 Aug New Zealand v Australia Auckland 39-10 NZ
17 Aug South Africa v New Zealand Cape Town 0-19 NZ
24 Aug South Africa v Australia Durban, SA 15-27 AU
31 Aug South Africa v Australia Johannesburg 53-8 SA
13 Sep Australia v New Zealand Brisbane 24-28 NZ

FINAL TRI-NATIONS TABLE

Team Played Won Lost For Against Points Bonus Points Total
New Zealand 6 4 2 152 106 16 3 19
Australia 6 3 3 119 163 12 2 14
South Africa 6 2 4 115 117 8 2 10

END OF YEAR TOUR 2008

Date Game Venue Result
01 Nov New Zealand v Australia Hong Kong 19-14 NZ
08 Nov New Zealand v Scotland Edinburgh 32-6 NZ
15 Nov New Zealand v Ireland Dublin 22-3 NZ
18 Nov New Zealand v Munster Limerick 18-16 NZ
22 Nov New Zealand v Wales Cardiff 29-9 NZ
29 Nov New Zealand v England London 32-6 NZ

Profile

Name
Ali Williams

DOB
30th April, 1981

Nationality
New Zealand

Place of Birth
Auckland, New Zealand

Height
2.02m

Weight
112kg

Test Debut
9th November, 2002

Team Position
Lock