News24

SBW to commit to All Blacks

2011-05-22 15:00

Wellington - Multi sports star Sonny Bill Williams was reported on Sunday to favour staying with rugby union and the All Blacks when his contract comes up for renewal after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Williams, who is also developing a career as a professional boxer, is being chased by rugby union and league clubs from around the world with rapidly rising dollar offers.

However, his Australian-based manager Khoder Nasser was quoted in the Sunday Star-Times newspaper as saying the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) was in the box seat to claim the prized signature.

"Sonny will remain in New Zealand as long as the NZRU is fair and just," Nasser said.

"We've started negotiations and if they are fair and just they have nothing to fear."

The NZRU is expected to come up with an innovative offer expanding on the ground-breaking four-year deal announced last week to retain fly-half Dan Carter with a similar announcement expected this week to keep All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Carter's contract has a built in sabbatical clause which will allow him to play in the lucrative European club scene just as he did when he played for the French club Perpignan in 2008-09.

Any deal with Williams may have to include breaks to play rugby league and he has already specified any deal he signs will have to contain the right to continue his boxing career.

Neil Sorensen, the NZRU's manager of professional rugby would not discuss how negotiations with Williams were progressing.

"It's still too early in the process to be making a comment," he said.

Williams, a former star of Australia's National Rugby League before being lured away by wealthy French rugby union club Toulon, was drawn to New Zealand by a contract which allowed him to box as well as play rugby union.

"We couldn't compete with Toulon, we were millions and millions (of dollars) apart and this was just one way of securing him," Sorensen said.

Williams has won his first three professional bouts with a fourth scheduled for next month in a week when his Super Rugby team, the Crusaders have a bye.

SAPA

Comments
  • RJ - 2011-05-22 13:39

    The guy is a great player with great vision

  • Yagyah Rabin - 2011-05-22 13:56

    Sonny bill my muslim brother

  • Crusaderinvader - 2011-05-22 22:06

    It's good to see some of our stars putting the $sss second....great for the game!!

      Crusader Man - 2011-05-22 22:56

      Good for us Crusaders Invader lol Can't believe how much negative feedback on radio sport bout Carter staying.. Imagine if we had lost him these same people would also be really upset. Am sure they just love the sound of there own voices.. Fingers crossed this week .. Think we can do it.. Scrum should be way to strong for the Reds.. Pretty hard to win when getting back foot ball.. Thats what i am hoping anyway...

      splatgunnz - 2011-05-23 00:22

      Great news... But I hope he becomes 'homesick' and goes back to Mt Albert/Pt. Chevalier to be with mum, thus making him eligible to play for the Blues!!!

  • Burgert Vermeulen - 2011-05-23 12:04

    I read an article where they discussed his commitment ect. He signed a 4 or 5 year deal with League Club Bulldogs, then overnight he dissapeared and "ran away" to toulon to play Union. He had to pay something like R700 000 to the League club in the end. But to me it shows that a contract means nothing to him.. So signing him for the All Blacks for 4 years doesnt mean he will be available till then, maybe he decides to just pack up and go somewhere else next year

      splatgunnz - 2011-05-23 23:48

      As Rugby League is un-natural to you Sth Africans, you may not be fully aware of the situation surrounding the Bulldogs in the years he was involved in the club. During his time, the club was involved in a gang-rape scandal that rocked the whole club. A few players defected the club as a result. After that, admin, club legends, fans, and the players themselves talked about the culture in the club in how it had been degraded from a family club of morals to a club where everyone looked after themselves. This was backed up by Steve Price, their talisman captain, to leave & join the NZ Warriors as he said so himself that the club culture was poor in all fronts. The thing is, prior to this, the playing staff of the Bulldogs had publicly vowed to remain loyal to the club yet along with Price's departure, they also lost Willie Mason, Corey Hughes, Jamaal Lolesi, Roy Asotasi, Jonathan Thurston, Reni Maitua, Mark O'Meley, & Brent Sherwin; all big name players. SBW took Mason's defection in particular as a slap in the face as it was Mason himself who lobbied SBW to stay at the Bulldogs to create a dynasty together, only for Mason to pick up and leave soon after. SBW became disillusioned with all the 'talk' behind the scenes, and thus left on his own terms. Being that I am a Bulldogs supporter, I don't mind the reasons he left, I can understand that. It's the way in which he left that was controversial, not the reason.

      splatgunnz - 2011-05-23 23:55

      He also hated the salary cap. He didn't like that David Gallop (NRL's CEO) could as much as he demanded while the clubs had to find a way to fit 30+ players into a roster with a cap of about $2-3 million Australian dollars. Btw, it was $AUS 700,000; not R700,000. Would be more like R5,173,500.

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