Multi-code sports star Sonny Bill Williams today announced he would be returning home in 2015 to play rugby union.
The NRL premiership-winning Sydney Roosters back-rower broke the news to AAP this morning, alsoannouncing that he would place his professional boxing career on hold to focus on the 15-man game.
“I will go back to the New Zealand Rugby Union to try and put my foot in the door for a franchise in New Zealand, hopefully the Chiefs,” he said.
“It’s been a tough couple of days but I am happy to have my future sorted.”
This announcement comes days after Williams u-turned on his initial decision to make himself unavailable for the New Zealand Kiwis squad’s 2013 World Cup campaign.
Williams ‘ change of heart forced Kiwis newbie and Melbourne Storm Rookie of the Year Tohu Harris out of the Kiwis squad only a day after it had been announced.
“It’s been a tough situation, but Sonny Bill brings things to the group that we couldn’t ignore,” said Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney.
“Tohu handled the situation as well as anyone could. It was a conversation no coach would like to have, but he’s a terrific young man and I’m sure he’ll have many more opportunities to pull on the black jersey.”
Brisbane Broncos vice-captain and Kiwis international Alex Glenn backed Williams’ decision, citing the fellow back-rower’s international experience for his country, well-aware that it could potentially endanger his own spot on the team.
“Sonny Bill’s been with the team before,” Glenn told AAP on Friday.
“For me it was a big shock, his decision to come into the team after it was selected, but to have Sonny Bill in the team, it’s always a strike-force.
“He was one of the best back-rowers in the game this year, so hopefully I just get named in one of the spots in the 17 and I’ll be happy,” Glenn said.