Sydney - Sonny Bill Williams will play against Benji Marshall for the last
time in the NRL next Monday but the Sydney Roosters superstar is yet to
decide whether he will join his former Kiwis team-mate in rugby union
According to the stuff.co.nz website, as Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter backed Marshall to end his NRL
career on a high after confirming he had signed with the Blues,
speculation about Williams' future intensified after the New Zealand
Rugby Union tabled a three-year offer from next season.
However, Fairfax Media understands Williams is yet to make a
decision on where he will play next year and is in no rush to do so.
After a stunning return to the NRL this season with Sydney Roosters,
Williams has no shortage of options in rugby league and rugby union and
could virtually choose any team in any country in either code.
But the recently turned 28-year-old superstar has not been pursuing
offers and is not expected to make a decision until towards the end of
the NRL season.
Conflicting media reports have stated that Williams is both staying
at the Roosters and returning to play Super Rugby for the Chiefs next
season, but neither is correct as he has not decided.
It is considered almost certain Williams will return to New Zealand
in the lead-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the Olympics the
following year, but the NZRU officials are keen to sign him for next
season, too, and have offered him a three-year deal.
However, Williams' main focus this week is his return, from a
two-match suspension for a high tackle, against Wests Tigers at Allianz
Stadium next Monday night.
The match will be his last against Marshall, who upset some Tigers
fans by wearing a Blues jersey in a recorded video to announce he had
signed with the Super Rugby franchise for next season.
While Tigers officials were also disappointed to see Marshall
wearing a rival team's jersey, they will take no action against him and
Potter said he intended to select the star playmaker against the
''I don't think it is going to become too much of a problem in the
immediate future whether he is wearing an Auckland Blues shirt,'' Potter
''He's not playing for them right at the moment and he is free at
the end of the year to negotiate a contract and he has done that.''
Marshall admitted in his Sun Herald column on Sunday that he had
struggled for form while considering the code switch but Potter believed
there were promising signs in Friday night's loss to Parramatta that he
could return to form before the end of the season.
''I thought he tried really hard and came up with a couple of real good plays,'' Potter said.
''He was involved in a few of the try-scoring plays and I thought his kicking game was OK.
''His form is on the way up and I'd love nothing better than for
Benji Marshall to go out the way he started, and the way everyone
remembers him as the ultimate player that has bought innovation and new
skills levels to the game.
''I'm confident that he has still got it and he showed some really good signs the other night.''