Confusion surrounds Sonny Bill Williams' future
October 8, 2013
Sonny Bill at a fans day on Tuesday © Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams will not feature in New Zealand's defence of the Rugby League World Cup after telling selectors he had "other commitments", the biggest indication yet he is poised to return to switch codes.
Williams helped Sydney Roosters win the NRL Grand Final at the weekend but there has been ongoing speculation that he plans to move from league to union for the second time.
"Sonny is unavailable due to other commitments, and what they are at this stage I'm sure we would all like to know and I'm sure we will hear all about that over the next two or three weeks," New Zealand rugby league coach Stephen Kearney said. "I spoke to Sonny and his agent yesterday. I have been working with them for quite some time in terms of his availability. I don't know [what he's doing]."
However, the situation might not be straightforward as within hours of Kearney's comments rumours started circulating that Williams' had had yet another about-turn. The Sydney Morning Herald said he had called Kearney to say he was, after all, available.
"I've seen the report and we're still working our way through it," New Zealand's media manager Caley Wilson said. "I'm getting a mountain of calls on the subject but I can't shed any light at the moment. Stephen is on his way back to Brisbane after the press conference in Auckland. I dropped him off at the airport this afternoon and he's spent most of the later part of the day in the air.
"He spoke to Sonny Bill yesterday but whether he's had another conversation I'm not sure yet."
Williams, who first switched in 2008, was a part of the new Zealand side which won the 2011 World Cup and the speculation is he wants to move again to allow him to play in the 2015 tournament as well as possibly featuring at the Olympics in 2016 as part of the All Blacks Sevens side. It seems likely he will return to the Chiefs.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
Formula One has made "a foolish move" by scheduling the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Texas on the same day as the NASCAR race in the state
Luke Donald sits top of the leaderboard at the Nedbank Golf Challenge after play was suspended for the day due to inclement weather
Brendan Rodgers has urged Luis Suarez to give the best years of his career to Liverpool and said he will establish himself as an Anfield legend if he does
Franco Smith will stop down as coach of Benetton Treviso after the next two rounds of the Heineken Cup rather than as expected at the end of the season
Nicklas Bendtner admits it has been difficult for him to have to watch Arsenal's excellent start to the season mostly from the sidelines, but insists he's ready to take his next chance
The WRU recently awarded President's caps to players who took part in Victory internationals in 1945-6 and internationals against overseas sides in the 1960s and 1970s. Why weren't caps given at the time?
With the next 147 maximum break set to be the 100th in the history of snooker, we look back to the quickest made by 'The Rocket', Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he cleared the table in a record five minutes and 20 seconds
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Things look like they can't get much worse for David Moyes. However if you fancy Newcastle to pile some fresh misery on Manchester United, you can back them for victory at Old Trafford at 6/1
Ewen McKenzie displayed a glimpse of a slight grin after his Wallabies had defeated Wales, and Greg Growden believes the Moai of Australian rugby is excused his brief moment of frivolity
Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to David Beckham, who will follow his former Manchester United manager into retirement at the end of the season insisting it was the right time for the former England captain to hang up his boots
Aaron Ramsey's scintillating form for Arsenal has caught the attention of Barcelona, with the Catalan club's scouts present at the last four matches the Welshman has played in
Liverpool and Manchester United are ready to snap up Pedro, as the Barcelona star reportedly says he would leave his boyhood club to play in the Premier League
UEFA president Michel Platini has joked that FIFA deliberately pushed back voting on the 2013 Ballon d'Or award to give Cristiano Ronaldo a better chance of winning
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed the club are seriously pursuing the opportunity of having a B side competing in the Football League
FIFA have caused more than their fair share of confusion in announcing the procedure for Friday's World Cup draw, with the mysterious "Pot X" ensuring plenty of head-scratching
Last Saturday in Quebec Tony Bellew from Liverpool was paid well but discovered just how painful it can be to try and win a world title in the champion's backyard
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Selected by our panel of ESPN FC experts, 11 star performers, plus a manager, are carefully chosen
ESPNcricinfo previews the third Twenty20 international between Pakistan and England, in Abu Dhabi