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
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
Cardiff Blues v Munster 17h15 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cheetahs v Bulls 17h30 Bloemfontein
Leinster v Scarlets 19h35 RDS Arena
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