SBW back in All Blacks frame

2012-07-26 10:23

Wellington - Sonny Bill Williams may make an unexpected swansong for the world champion All Blacks after fellow centre Conrad Smith was injured, New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew said on Thursday.

Williams was believed to be out of contention for the All Blacks following his announcement earlier this month that he had signed for a stint in Japanese club rugby and then planned to return to Australia's National Rugby League.

But Tew said selectors were considering the 26-year-old because Smith had been sidelined for six weeks after eye surgery for a detached retina, ruling him out of the opening matches of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship.

Richard Kahui is also out injured, leaving the All Blacks short of midfield experience for the opening matches of the tournament against arch-rivals Australia.

Tew said that could open the door for Williams, whose New Zealand rugby career was expected to end some time in the next fortnight, depending on how far his team the Chiefs go in the Super 15 finals.

"He's eligible under our selection policy because he's been playing in the competition prior to the team being selected," Tew told reporters.

"I guess the conversation will be whether he has time to play in the competition before he goes to Japan."

Williams is tipped to earn in excess of $1.4 million during his stint in Japan with club side Panasonic and a further $570 000 in the NRL.

He is yet to reveal which NRL team he will play for, although reports say he is set to join Bondi-based glamour club the Sydney Roosters.


  • nzbro.allblack - 2012-07-26 11:11

    I think we should just carry on without him. He does not feature that much in most games unless he is part of the game plan. There are other players who can contribute too AND who plan to stay in NZ to be available to play.SBW should not be rewarded for abandoning the AB at such a crucial time by giving him more game time.He abandoned his former league team in similar fashion and they learnt to just get on with it without relying on SBW.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-26 11:34

      he does not feature much in most games unless he is part of the gameplan. right. one of those game plans where centres are not used. news to me

      justin.hawthorne.750 - 2012-07-26 12:04

      I don't understand why the NZRU are considering including SBW in the rugby championship after he's announced his exit. When Jimmy Cowan said he was off at the end of the season, they didn't consider him for the June internationals nor the rugby championships. In the current standing, Tamati Ellison surely slots in at 13, alongside Nonu. Ben Smith can cover centre on the bench. Why bring SBW in? There is no emergency at the moment, as was the case with the 9's (where Cowan was not considered, as there was enough stocks to pick from).

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-27 06:12

      Why does no-one in NZ rate Robbie Freuen? He must be the best centre currently and I am pretty sure he'd be able to play either 12 or 13.

      justin.hawthorne.750 - 2012-07-27 09:27

      Well, Robbie Fruean to me drifts in and out of games. And he needs plenty space in order to be effective. The number of times he makes the wrong decision also stacks up against him. But that's just my opinion!

  • ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-26 23:57

    How much money is he asking for this?

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