Sydney - Sonny Bill Williams' sporting career could be on the verge of taking
another unexpected twist with Australian media reports touting him as a
potential Samoan international at this year’s rugby league World Cup.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, Williams has not yet confirmed he is available for the Kiwis title
defence in the UK, raising speculation the former All Black and
part-time boxer could instead turn out for Samoa.
Incumbent Kiwis second rower Frank Pritchard plus former
international props Roy Asotasi and Jeff Lima could also be enlisted by
Samoa according to a report in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Former Samoa and Kiwis centre Nigel Vagana is helping to assemble
the Pacific Islanders’ squad for the tournament, which is held in the UK
in October-November, and was cagey when asked if Williams was a
He would not reveal the identity of players who had made themselves
available - the situation will be clearer when Vagana hopes a test
between Samoa and Tonga is played a day after the April 19 Anzac Test in
“If the cards - or the coconuts - fall our way, we could potentially
have the greatest Samoan team ever,” Vagana told The Daily Telegraph.
“I actually think Tonga could have their best possible team ever as well.
“It has always been a viable option for 18, 19, 20-year-olds to play
for the Pacific nations and then go on and play for New Zealand or
“I did it as a young guy, but what's happening now is that it's
becoming a serious option for older players, seasoned first-graders,”
said Vagana, who played two Tests for Samoa before earning 38 caps for
the Kiwis between 1998-2006.
Williams, who is expected to make his NRL comeback against South
Sydney in the premiership opener next Thursday, planned to meet Kiwis
coach Stephen Kearney before his controversial heavyweight bout with
Francois Botha in Brisbane on February 8.
Those talks never took place but Williams was hoping to catch up with Kearney before the season got underway.
Williams and Kearney were not available for comment.
Fairfax Media also reported Williams was being courted by Samoa and
the prospect of playing alongside friend and former Bulldogs teammate
Reni Maitua was appealing.
However, if the 27-year-old, who played seven times for the Kiwis
between 2004-08, pledged allegiance to Samoa it would end his prospects
of adding a league World Cup title to his rugby World Cup winner’s medal
– a scenario that does not sit well alongside his ambition to also
secure the inaugural rugby sevens goal medal at the Rio Olympics in