SBW sorry for change of heart
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Sonny Bill Williams says he feels "like shit" for taking Tohu Harris's place in New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup side but believes he would have lifelong regrets if he again missed out.
Williams, 28, was rushed into New Zealand's World Cup squad on Wednesday
after the dual code international controversially reversed a decision to skip the tournament and take a holiday.
In a dramatic 24 hours, Williams initially snubbed the Kiwis by declaring he had "other commitments" but changed his tune after the squad was announced on Tuesday, saying he wanted to take part and "help the brothers" defend the title they won in 2008.
Harris was the victim of Williams's change of heart, with coach Stephen Kearney dumping the 21-year-old from his 24-man squad to make room for the former All Black.
Williams watched the Kiwis win the 2008 World Cup on television in France after walking out on league to play union for French side Toulon.
And the Sydney Roosters star said he "wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror" and rejected suggestions he had acted selfishly.
"I'm sorry for taking someone else's spot," Williams said in an interview with BBC World Service
. "I actually feel like shit, to tell you the truth.
"I'm really sorry about the Tohu situation, it was never my intention.
"I've offered my apologies to him and obviously he is hurting. It's just a really tough situation and all I can do now is play as hard as I can and help the boys retain the World Cup."
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup will take place in England and Wales from October 26 to November 30.
Williams, who played 19 Tests for the All Blacks before going back to league this year, is expected to return to union in 2014.