Rugby World Cup 2019: Sonny Bill Williams hits out at critics claiming he is under pressure

Rugby World Cup hopeful Sonny Bill Williams has hit at critics claiming he is under pressure.

The All Blacks midfielder was selected among 34 players on Wednesday for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup tests against Australia.

But coach Steve Hansen confirmed the 33-year-old will miss the trip to Perth next week so Williams can get in some much-needed game time for Counties-Manukau in Mitre 10 Cup pre-season fixtures.

'SBW' is locked in a six-horse race to claim four midfield spots in the World Cup squad named later this month.

But Williams has taken to Twitter to attack some members of the media and public questioning his position in the final makeup of the squad for Japan.

Williams has told his detractors to "Get your priorities right' rather than focus on any perceived pressure he is under.

"I find it very interesting when so-called 'private' conversations end up in the media," he wrote. 

"And for those that say I'm under pressure playing a game that I enjoy. Get your priorities right.

"Look at what's going on in the world. Starving children, the single mother raising 3 kids, the atrocities refugees are facing around the world, racism.

"This is what I call pressure." 

Williams has only played 60 minutes of top-level rugby since a hamstring injury curtailed his Super Rugby season in June. 

On Wednesday Hansen took time while fronting the media to address Williams' value to the squad and the reasoning behind his move back to the Mitre 10 Cup. 

"We've got a lot of respect for Sonny's playing ability, obviously," said Hansen.

"He's played 52 tests for the All Blacks, so we know he can play at this level. The unfortunate thing is he hasn't played much.

"We wanted to see him on Saturday being able to cope with the rigours of test football, which he did, so that's a big tick. But to judge him at the highest level when he's had no football is not fair.

"What we've asked him to do is play a couple of games for Counties which will give him three games in three weeks and then look to see what we're going to do in Auckland. If he was to play there that would be four games in four weeks.

"Then everybody gets judged fairly and whatever combination of the four we come up with, everybody has had an opportunity to say 'well, I've had a fair go' and every one of them deserves that including Sonny."

Williams is a likely All Black starter for the return leg against the Wallabies at Eden Park in three weeks.