Rugby World Cup 2019: Jack Goodhue channels Sonny Bill Williams' media charm

If Jack Goodhue and Sonny Bill Williams perform as well on the field as they do off it, they'll be in for a cracker Rugby World Cup.

The midfield duo were playing off each other beautifully at the latest media conference in Beppu.

Goodhue walked into the room at the team hotel with his mullet freshly-styled, the hot and humid temperatures giving it extra volume, while Williams followed in behind.

The first question was directed at Goodhue,s trademark hairstyle, and whether he had given it some extra attention.

"Please don't ask about that, next question." Goodhue said playfully. "But it is looking good."

That set the tone for what was an entertaining fourteen minutes.

Goodhue and Williams's combination goes back to Dunedin last year where the Northland centre made his test debut against France in June.

But injuries and illness have meant the pair have only started together twice since then.

It's been a particularly tough run for 24-year-old Goodhue who's only just fully recovered from a hamstring injury that saw him miss the opening World Cup win over the Springboks.

Goodhue's understandably itching to get out on the field against Canada on Wednesday.

"First World Cup game, of course. This is the peak and I want to be out there, I want to play. It's been a while as well, since Perth Bledisloe Cup game, it was a hamstring injury that just seemed to drag out, as frustrating as it was, it's feeling really good now.

Williams is also looking forward to getting back out on the field with the colourful Crusaders character who feels extremely comfortable with his more experienced teammate.

"He's [Goodhue] a very physical player, you know he's going to bring that, but he's pretty skilful as well. At trainings, he tells us that quite a bit."

"I don't tell you, I just show you." said Goodhue who was quick to chime in with some banter.

"So he's been out for a while, but he hasn't lost any confidence as you can tell," Williams replied.

Self-belief is a big thing for Goodhue, and that was severely tested last year when he contracted the mumps which sidelined him for a few weeks during the 2017 end of year tour in Europe. 

 "It taught me that you can go through that hardship and when you come out of it you're still the same player that you were. Sometimes it feels like when you're out of the game for a couple of months you start to doubt yourself, but it's just so important to back yourself when you're out there and know that you're still the same player."

Williams has also had his well-documented struggles, but he's not one to stress about things he can't control.

 "It's been a tough few years in regards to injuries, but in saying that I feel like every time I've got on that pitch I've performed. I've performed to my own standards which I pride myself on achieving."

It's been an incredible career for Williams who's been playing professional sport since 2004 when Goodhue was just nine years old.

And it's around that time when Goodhue first knew of Sonny Bill Williams during a game of backyard rugby league with his siblings.

"First time I heard of Sonny was me and my older brother we were out on the field, it was me and my twin brother versus one of my older brothers, and one of my older brothers ran in and gave me a big shoulder charge, and then he yelled out 'Sonny Bill!' and I was like, 'What just happened?'."

You can sense a sibling rivalry vibe from Williams and Goodhue who has plenty of respect for his midfield partner.

"To play with him now, he's so composed on the field, I always try and run off his shoulder and pick up the plums, and he's just overall a good guy."

It's still unclear who the top All Blacks midfield is after Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown performed well in the opening game, but you get the feeling Williams and Goodhue are a combination that can't be ignored.

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