SBW: Why NZ are bending the rules

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:11
Large sonny bill williams nrl

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has defended the special treatment given to serial code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen defended the special treatment given to serial code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams, saying it was needed to ensure he is ready to join the All Blacks' World Cup defence next year.

Williams, who is returning to Rugby Union after a second stint in Australia's National Rugby League, has been exempted from a rule that forces players to participate in the domestic competition (NPC) before being eligible for All Blacks honours.

The move, announced this week, will allow Williams to slot straight back into the world champions' end-of-year tour to the United States and Europe.

"The reason why we want to take him on the end-of-year tour is because there's very limited Test matches between now and the World Cup," Hansen told RadioSport.

"If he was to be in a successful Chiefs [Super Rugby] side next year and they were playing in the Final, for example, then he wouldn't be available for some of those Tests.

"It becomes difficult then to get him back into the ways of the All Blacks."

Hansen said Williams, who was part of New Zealand's 2011 World Cup triumph, was a proven performer in Rugby Union.

"You've got a quality, world-class player at your disposal and our job is to pick the best team. He's going to be one of the best players, so our job is to pick him," he said.

He said Williams, 29, who won the last of his 19 All Black caps in August 2012, had developed a keen knowledge of Rugby Union during his first stint in the code.

"He can watch a game now and understand it, which is massively important when you want to come back across," he said.

Williams' return will leave the All Blacks ample cover in the centres, with Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Malakai Fekitoa and Ryan Crotty available.

Hansen rejected suggestions that rushing Williams back would deny opportunities to emerging talent such as Fekitoa and Crotty, saying injuries had a way of ensuring that everyone had a run.

Williams began his career in Rugby League, winning the 2004 NRL title with the Canterbury Bulldogs in his debut season before walking out on the team mid-contract to play rugby union in France.

He contributed to the New Zealand 2011 World Cup win and snared the 2012 Super 15 title with the Waikato Chiefs before returning to the NRL with the Sydney Roosters last year, picking up another title with the side.

Source: AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 19h30 Rodney Parade
Fri, 12 February 2016
Leinster v Zebre 19h30 RDS Arena
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h30 Kingspan Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 19h45 Kingston Park
Scarlets v Edinburgh 20h15 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2