Sonny Bill snubs All Blacks to stay a Rooster
Williams rejects overtures to return to union, ending rampant speculation
Sonny Bill Williams has turned down offers to return to rugby union with New Zealand’s Waikato Chiefs and will remain in Australia to play rugby league with the Sydney Roosters, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said on Friday.
“Sonny Bill Williams has informed New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs he will not be returning to rugby in New Zealand next year,” NZRU said. “It is understood that Williams has informed the Roosters he will return to them for the 2014 season.”
The announcement of the one-year deal torpedoes rampant media speculation on both sides of the Tasman Sea the serial code-hopper had signed a multi-year deal to return to the Chiefs side he helped to the 2012 Super Rugby title.
Williams, who won a World Cup with the All Blacks in 2011, met with NZRU officials in Sydney on Thursday with his manager Khoder Nasser, fuelling speculation the move was finalised.
“While disappointed not to have secured Williams for 2014, it was no secret the 28-year-old Auckland-born player had options for his playing career next year,” New Zealand Rugby general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said.
“We obviously worked pretty hard to bring Sonny home, and we have had some really good conversations with him.
“This is disappointing but we know we put our best foot forward, and in the end Sonny has made his decision.
“As we do with many players who leave New Zealand, we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with him about his playing career.”
Williams celebrated winning Australia’s National Rugby League title with the Roosters on Sunday, but said he did not expect to make a decision on his next career move for a number of weeks.
A highly coveted player in both codes, Williams’s retention by the Roosters would be a big boost for the embattled NRL which has been rocked by a major anti-doping probe.