SBW departs AllBlacks as a proud "caretaker"

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James Mortimer     26 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Williams was in dynamic form in the All Blacks 22-0 win over the Wallabies at Eden Park, the last of his tests for New Zealand before heading to Japan, before what is widely expected to be the resumption of his rugby league career.

But Sonny Bill, who added a Bledisloe Cup to his World Cup and Investec Super Rugby crown said he hoped that he had left a mark as an All Blacks second five-eighth.

“You're only caretakers of the jersey and you want to leave it better than when you've found it,” Williams said.

Williams hasn’t denied leaving New Zealand was going to be difficult, but said that leaving on a winning high would make his departure a little easier.

"Winning with the Chiefs and tonight has made me a little bit more happy leaving in that sense," he said.

"But when you form friendships and close friendships, it's always tough to leave.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen compared him to another well-known dual international, and said that the World Champions would welcome back the midfielder.

“…Over the past 12 months, he's learned and got a game understanding very much like Brad Thorn," said Hansen.

"This year, he's been in scintillating form. It's a shame he's going but we all understand why he has to and we're supportive of him and looking forward to him making a decision to come back as soon as he can."