Super comeback for Sonny Bill?
Sun, 01 Sep 2013 13:32
He will forever be part of the Chiefs
Sonny Bill Williams will reportedly return to Rugby Union and back-to-back Super Rugby winners the Chiefs next year.
Australian media reports suggest the World Cup-winning All Black is on the verge of signing a three-year deal with the Chiefs, with some sources going as far as to report it’s already a done deal.
According to The Sunday Mail, the physical demand of the NRL is at the heart of Williams’ likely return.
The paper reports that the Roosters playmaker feels he is being targeted on a weekly basis and that a return to Rugby Union would prolong his playing and boxing careers.
It is believed Williams, upon agreeing his current deal, gave a verbal indication to Roosters boss Nick Politis that he hoped to extend his stay for a second season but an extension on his one-year contract was never drawn up.
A New Zealand-based source told The Sunday Mail: "The Chiefs are very confident of getting Sonny Bill. I expect Sonny Bill to be at the Chiefs [next year] and it will be announced the second the NRL season is over.
"The word out of the Sonny Bill camp is that he is getting bashed in Rugby League, he feels he is getting targeted and can look after his body better in Rugby Union and prolong his career.
"The Chiefs are really close to getting the deal done. With the Roosters in the finals, Sonny Bill wants to keep things low-key until their season is over."
Fairfax Media reports that All Black flank Liam Messam's re-signing with the Chiefs was a major reason in Williams wanting to return to the Hamilton-based side rather than another New Zealand franchise.
Chiefs chairman Dallas Fisher confirmed their interest in Williams but told The Sunday Mail the duel-code international had yet to sign with the New Zealand Rugby Union.
"We are waiting for Sonny to give us an answer on what he wants to do, the ball is entirely in his court," he said.
"Our interest in Sonny is genuine and we are waiting to see how things pan out.
"We're not rushing him, we are waiting for him to get to a point where he will make a decision.
"He's very attractive to us. He is an outstanding athlete with an outstanding profile.
"He will forever be part of the Chiefs and we'd love to have him back."
Roosters CEO Brian Canavan, meanwhile, hopes to retain Williams’ services with the help of the NRL.
"We have put a proposal to the NRL looking at a few specific situations," said Canavan.
"What we are looking for is for some flexibility in the salary cap for unique situations and Sonny Bill is a unique situation.
"I accept it must be fair and part of the salary-cap rules that every NRL club can operate by.
"First we need to Sonny Bill to say he wants to stay. He is an elite athlete, he has many opportunities available to him, but we'll make an offer when he indicates he wants to stay."
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