Rugby

No decision from SBW for 2014

2013-08-12 09:10
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty)
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 next season.

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 Roosters.

''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 said.

''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.'' 

Read more on:    sonny bill williams  |  rugby
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