Star trio set for 7'sPL
Johannesburg - Three of the biggest names in world rugby will be in action in an international sevens tournament, the 7'sPL, in George in December.
All Black sensation Sonny Bill Williams, Welsh legend Shane Williams and Australia’s enigmatic flyhalf, Quade Cooper, will play for the NBM All Stars team, the organisers confirmed on Thursday.
The 7'sPL tournament, with prize money of R1 million, will see 12 teams, including some of the world’s best rugby players, in action.
The NBM All Stars are the first outfit to make a major announcement regarding the acquisition of players for the tournament.
Sports promoter Willem Strauss, who will manage the competition, said they had started negotiations with players and their employers for participation in the tournament.
“The tournament is the ideal opportunity for some of the world’s best players to play in the sevens format,” Strauss said.
“It will give junior players in South Africa a pathway to play in the Olympic Games and it will give the people of George the opportunity to see some of the world’s superstars in action.”
Cooper and Williams’s agent, Khoder Nasser, was in Cape Town this week to seal the deal with Strauss and South African boxing promoter Tinus Strydom, who has ties in the tournament.
Strauss also confirmed that Shane Williams would join his Kiwi namesake and Cooper in the NBM All Stars team.
Williams and Cooper are two of the modern game’s greatest drawcards and their involvement in the event is likely to see more international stars playing in the tournament.
Cooper was sidelined from all rugby after he suffered a knee injury during last year’s World Cup third-place playoff against Wales.
The mercurial flyhalf was instrumental in the Reds' 2011 Super Rugby title-winning performance against the Crusaders.
He is set to make a return to the Reds in May, with the Queensland squad depleted by injuries this season.
The 7'sPL will also be a rare opportunity for fans to see Welsh great Shane Williams in the sevens format as his career winds down.
The 34-year-old will retire from all rugby in May and made his final bow in Test rugby following Wales' defeat to Australia in Cardiff in December.
The prolific scorer boasts a record of 58 tries in 87 international matches and was crowned the International Rugby Board’s player of the year in 2008.
The pocket-sized winger has caught many defenders off-guard over the span of his career with unpredictable darting and side-stepping runs.