Sonny Bill Williams
New Zealand welcomed back superstars Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams for next month’s Northern Hemisphere tour, but dropped pivot Colin Slade, despite his heroics against Australia at the weekend.
Flyhalf Carter, the world’s most prolific international points scorer, has not played since breaking his leg in the Super Rugby Final in August, while Williams returns to the All Blacks after two seasons playing Rugby League in Australia.
There is also a return for Aaron Cruden, who has finally been forgiven for his late-night indiscretion in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.
Coach Steve Hansen also recalled flank Victor Vito at the expense of Steven Luatua, and included promising scrumhalf Augustine Pulu as the only uncapped player in the squad for the four-Test tour.
Sonny Bill Williams has put an end to all the speculation and will make his return to rugby for Counties Manukau next Wednesday.
The Counties Manukau Rugby Union have confirmed Williams will make his much anticipated Steelers’ debut – and return to rugby after a two-year stint for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL – against Auckland in a national provincial championship match in Pukekohe next Wednesday night.
The union will officially announce today that the 29-year-old will play in the Steelers’ final two matches of the season – against Auckland and Tasman – despite his contract with the NPC side only starting next year.
But unless injuries strike, Williams won’t make his comeback for the All Blacks until the end of year tour to the United States and Europe.
This week the Fox HQ Top 5 features the best code hoppers of all time.
On merit, history suggests Sonny Bill Williams will play second fiddle to Ma’a Nonu again.
The only time Williams genuinely cracked the All Blacks was when Nonu had a wretched run with injury. He was No 1 by default. At the last World Cup he was a bit-part player at best.
In terms of the exemption he was granted to be picked for the end of year tour without having to play in the NPC for Counties Manukau, I’m not in favour of it.
Sonny Bill Williams has been granted a special exemption to be picked for the All Blacks’ end of year tour.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed on Monday Williams would not need to play in the National Provincial Championship following his commitments with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.
NZRU rules state that players must take part in the preceding domestic competition in order to be eligible for the All Blacks.
However, the board voted on Friday to make an exemption for Williams should he not be able to make an appearance for Counties-Manukau either due to the length of the Roosters season, or injury.
Brad Thorn will continue his incredible 444-game career beyond his 40th birthday with English rugby giants, Leicester.
Meanwhile another code-hopper is preparing for his own return to action with Sonny Bill Williams hoping to return for Sydney Roosters either this weekend or next.
Williams will be hoping to sign off in rugby league – for now anyway – with a second straight NRL premiership before he returns to Hamilton to re-join Super Rugby’s Chiefs.
Both Williams and Thorn are incredible cross-code stories. But who deserves the mantle as the greatest code-hopper of all time?
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson got his nickname during a mill game played in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson suffered from blisters on his foot from a new pair of cleats, and they hurt so much that he had to take his shoes off before an at bat.
As play continued, a heckling fan noticed Jackson running to third base in his socks, and shouted “You shoeless son of a gun, you!” and the resulting nickname “Shoeless Joe” stuck with him throughout the remainder of his life.
Will a similar fate await Sonny Bill Williams? The Good Samaritan was also left shoeless after obliging a fan in Samoa.
Nemani Nadolo will remain at the Crusaders for two more years, after reports in New Zealand said the giant Fijian winger “never had any intention of going anywhere else”.
“We have loved having Nemani in the Crusaders this season, as have our fans, so it gives me great pleasure to confirm that he will be returning to the team next year and in 2016,” Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said.
Dual international Sonny Bill Williams will be considered for the New Zealand’s end of year tour if he is fit and in top form.
That is the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who said time was a factor less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup. Hansen feels Williams’ return to the All Blacks will depend on his condition when he returns from the Sydney Roosters’ NRL campaign and whether he manages to play some part for Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup.
Hansen admitted that he hoped Williams’ return to Test rugby is sooner rather than later.
“There is no doubt he’s an exceptional rugby player and if he’s available then we’d be foolish not to look at him, but we have to take into account he’s come off a big season,” Hansen told Fairfax Media.
“We have to take a whole lot of things into consideration before we make a decision. What’s right for Sonny? What’s right for the team?”
“Next year’s a bit different because we don’t have the June series and if we can’t use him going into the World Cup then if we can have that opportunity to spend time with him then that would be good.”
Code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams will reunite with his former Toulon coach Tana Umaga when he returns to New Zealand rugby next year from rugby league.
Williams, who has played for New Zealand at both rugby and league World Cups, has signed a two year deal to play for Counties Manukau, coached by Umaga, in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championships. He has previously signed to play Super Rugby for the Hamilton-based Chiefs.
The New Zealand Rugby Union have confirmed that cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams has signed with the Chiefs for 2015.
Williams, who will continue in rugby league with the Sydney Roosters in 2014, has signed a two-year deal, meaning he could appear for the All Blacks at the 2015 World Cup.
He will return to the Chiefs, for whom he played in 2012, in the Super Rugby competition.
Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams has been stripped of his professional boxing belts after the dual code rugby international failed to defend his world and New Zealand heavyweight titles.
The New Zealand Rugby Union have admitted to trying to tempt former All Blacks superstar Sonny Bill Williams back to the 15-a-side code from Rugby League.
Williams left the 15-a-side game earlier this year to return to his first love, league, after a four-year flirtation with union.
The wait is finally over for Sonny Bill Williams, with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) informing the Sydney Roosters that the code-hopping superstar’s 2013 playing contract has been registered.
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed his return to Rugby League by agreeing a one-year deal with the Sydney Roosters in Australia’s National Rugby League.
The All Blacks have named their team to face Australia in the opening Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney with Ma’a Nonu coming in for the injured Conrad Smith.
Sonny Bill Williams’ new Japanese club have cleared the Rugby World Cup and Super Rugby winning centre to play for the All Blacks in their opening Four Nations Rugby Championship matches against Australia.
Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed his availability for the All Blacks in the upcoming Four Nations Rugby Championship which starts in August.
All Blacks and Chiefs star Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed that he will leave New Zealand Rugby and play in Japan after the Super Rugby season.
The New Zealand Rugby Union’s offer to re-sign Chiefs and All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams is on the table.
The Sonny Bill Williams camp, have announced that Sonny Bill Williams will fight Clarence Tillman III in Hamilton on 8 February – two weeks before Super Rugby starts.
New Chiefs signing Sonny Bill Williams could play his last season of super Rugby in 2012 as he plans to return to playing Rugby League according to reports.
All Blacks and now Chiefs star Sonny Bill Williams has announced that he will enter the boxing ring again next year just weeks before the Super Rugby season starts.
Sonny Bill Williams has withdrawn from the Baa-Baas and is replaced by Richard Kahui.
Drew Mitchel is injured again and expected to miss the opening Rounds of Super Rugby.
Conrad Smith is named as Hurricanes Captain for 2012.
Derick Hougaard could be back at the Bulls.
Bolla Conradie, Elgar Watts & Clemen Lewis, all from Boland, as well as Burton Francis are included in Stormers plans for 2012.
Graham Henry rules out England coaching job.
All Blacks midfield back Sonny Bill Williams will play Super Rugby for the Chiefs in 2012 after he signed a one year extension to his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
Australia’s Wallabies have been left with a long injury list after their Rugby World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand, with at least four players unavailable for Friday’s third-place playoff against Wales.
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen says Richie McCaw will play against Argentina this weekend, despite fears that a troublesome foot injury could keep the New Zealand captain on the sidelines for the quarter-final at Eden Park.
“He’s great,” Hansen told a press conference at the team hotel. “He’s going to play on Sunday.”
When a player works four years to get in prime condition for the World Cup it is very sad when they get injured. The way a player handles his disappointment shows his metal. There are disappointments in your career and adversity makes you a better person. There might be many more disappointed players at this stage but the three Southern Hemisphere partners each lost one or more of their best players.
Here is the Dan Carter story.
Frans Steyn, Drew Mitchell and Wycliff Palu can be added as big losses.
All Blacks first five-eighth Carter has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament because of the groin injury he suffered at yesterday’s captains run and Colin Slade will now be expected to wear the No 10 jersey for the crucial play-off matches.
I’ve found myself pondering more and more about the amount of injuries during this year’s RWC. Is it just my imagination or are there more injuries this year than previous times?
In run-up to this year’s RWC we had constant injuries to Springbok and All Black players to the extent that everyone was starting to label it as ‘resting’ or ‘cotton wool’ procedures.
South Africa have players like Bekker, Vermeulen, Potgieter, Juan Smit (to name but the few I can now remember) who was not even considered for the RWC squad due to injury.
At the moment Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Jean de Villiers, Johan Muller, Flip van der Merwe, and Habana are all injured. In the All Black camp McCaw, Carter, Dagg and Mills Muliaina are all injured and can’t play on the weekend. Continue reading
Waratahs coach Chris Hickey may be forced to turn to Sydney club rugby again to shore-up his depleted stocks as five players are in doubt for their crunch Super Rugby game with the Highlanders on Saturday.
The Reds brutal 14-22 loss to the Brumbies could have a bigger impact than initially thought as half of their backline is in doubt for their match against the Force.
There are two perturbing conclusions in a study by sports scientist Ross Tucker, on injuries suffered by top-level rugby players in terms of frequency and description.