The Springboks’ hopes of building on their strong start to the competition against Australia were dashed at the Mount Smart Stadium as New Zealand started with a flurry to build up a 20-3 halftime lead, which paved the way for their 35-20 victory.
Asked specifically about the aerial battle in the match, Williams - who replaced Faf de Klerk in the 53rd minute - said: “Personally I think we could have been better in the aerial battle. It’s something they made changes to in their game. But as a team we’ll take the positives that we can from the match and build on that.”
The defeat may have left the Boks and their fans disappointed, but Williams said it was an honour to be part of the squad and that he was soaking up as much as possible.
“I joined the Boks in 2021, so I’ve been part of the set-up for a little while,” said Williams. “I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning a lot.”
Asked what the recipe was for him to slot into the team so seamlessly, despite being one of the youngsters in the squad, Williams said: “The backing from the team management and the guys around me is fantastic and it makes it easy for us as players.”
The Springboks will play Los Pumas in back-to-back clashes in the next three weeks, with the second Test in Buenos Aires on Saturday 5 August, which is also the first of their three Rugby World Cup warm-up games.
The Boks will then face Wales in Cardiff (Saturday 19 August) and the All Blacks in London (Friday 25 August) in their remaining matches before making the journey to France for the international extravaganza in September and October.