Rugby

Sonny Bill Williams keen to play sevens at Rio Olympics

The former All Black and sometime boxer is lured by the prospect of winning Olympic gold

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 4:49am
AFP

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Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams admits the chance to win Olympic gold could tempt him to switch to rugby sevens for the 2016 Rio Games as he weighs up his future in the boxing ring.

The code-hopping New Zealander is about to resume his rugby league career with the Sydney Roosters after winning a 10-round heavyweight boxing bout against veteran South African Frans Botha this month.

But Williams, 27, a member of the World Cup-winning All Blacks team of 2011, told the Sydney Morning Herald that playing sevens for New Zealand at the Rio Games was appealing.

"To win a gold medal sounds pretty good," he said.

"As a sportsman, if you don't have those sorts of dreams or aspirations then you may as well just stay in bed."

Williams refused to commit to continuing his boxing career after the draining fight in Australia won on points against the vastly more experienced Botha.

"I think I am best at putting on the boots and running out on the field to play rugby union or rugby league," said Williams. "If I had lost that fight I would have given it away because it is just not worth it, but I overcame some hurdles and the reaction of people close to me was good so we will assess it when the time is right."

Williams, on the receiving end of some heavy blows from Botha in the final round, admitted that boxing was a challenge.

"I am not perfect but I am just trying to keep improving and if everyone is saying I have improved then I will just keep plugging away and maybe have another fight," he said.

"But at this stage I am concentrating on playing rugby league and we will assess that after the season. At this stage, I have had enough of boxing for now," said Williams.

All Black Liam Messam has said he was considering switching to sevens in order to compete for an Olympic gold medal.

Sevens becomes a full medal sport in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.