JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Sonny Bill keeps door open for World Cup

Ready to return ... Sonny Bill Williams in action for the Kiwis in 2008.

Ready to return ... Sonny Bill Williams in action for the Kiwis in 2008. Photo: Getty Images

 AS HE prepares to make his first NRL appearance in 1680 days this Saturday night, Sonny Bill Williams has indicated that he may be available to play for New Zealand in the end-of-season World Cup.

Williams, who was not officially due to join Sydney Roosters until Monday but began training last week, is only contracted until October 31 and there is speculation he will return to Japanese rugby or box when his NRL commitments finish.

But the 27-year-old dual international told Fairfax Media that he planned to meet Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney before the NRL season began.

''I have got to catch up with Mooks [Kearney],'' Williams said. ''His last Test for the Kiwis was my first, and he is a good friend.

''I was supposed to meet him in Brisbane before the fight [against Francois Botha] but it didn't work out. I just said I was busy and he understood. We said we would catch up in Sydney.''

Kearney said he hoped to meet Williams the week before the opening NRL match between the Roosters and South Sydney on March 7.

Williams is also being courted to play for Samoa and he is attracted by the opportunity to play alongside close friend Reni Maitua, who was in his dressing room for the fight with Botha along with their former Bulldogs teammates Willie Tonga and Nate Myles.

But the chance to add a rugby league World Cup medal to the rugby union version he won with the All Blacks in 2011 would be an attractive lure for him to play for the Kiwis. If he does, Williams may play a second season for the Roosters but New Zealand rugby officials are predicting he will return for the 2015 World Cup, and the dual international admitted he was tempted by the prospect of representing his country in sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

''To win a gold medal sounds pretty good,'' he said. ''As a sportsman, if you don't have those sorts of dreams or aspirations then you may as well just stay in bed.''

Williams is expected to make his debut for the Roosters in Saturday night's Foundation Cup clash with Wests Tigers after fronting up at his new club just three days after a controversial 10th-round win against Botha.

The fight was Williams's sixth and Botha's 61st, and the former All Black was physically and mentally drained afterwards but he insisted on attending Roosters training last Monday - although he did not take part in a session until Wednesday.

Those close to him say his return to the NRL was weighing on him during the lead-up to the fight and while Williams dominated most of the bout he appeared content to just keep picking Botha off with punches rather than risk being hit trying to finish off the South African.

Having chosen such a dramatic step up in class to help him decide whether he had a future in boxing, Williams is unsure when he will step in the ring again to defend his WBA international heavyweight title.

''I think I am best at putting on the boots and running out on the field to play rugby union or rugby league,'' he said. ''If I had lost that fight I would have given it away because it is just not worth it, but I overcame some hurdles and the reaction of all the people close to me was good so we will assess it when the time is right.

''For me, boxing is a challenge. I am not perfect but I am just trying to keep improving and if everyone is saying I have improved then I will just keep plugging away and maybe have another fight.

''But at this stage I am concentrating on playing rugby league and we will assess that after the season. At this stage, I have had enough of boxing for now.''

 

Related Coverage

Slater shrugs off Raiders' angst over his trial run

LONDON: Melbourne fullback Billy Slater has dismissed Canberra's complaints about his involvement in a trial match as "irrelevant" while coach Craig Bellamy says he "can't understand" his former club's complaint to the NRL over the issue.

Time to fly: Hayne ready for take off after learning from past mistakes

JARRYD HAYNE will play his first game in Parramatta colours in seven months on Saturday night in the corresponding match that ruined his season last year.

Bennett urges crackdown on blight of ruck wrestling

NEWCASTLE coach Wayne Bennett has called on the NRL's referees to eradicate ruck wrestling before it becomes an epidemic.

Rookie Rabbit Reynolds destined for a leadership role

SOUTH SYDNEY coach Michael Maguire has implored halfback Adam Reynolds to take on more of a leadership role with the Rabbitohs this season.

Game will be better for probe, says prop

BRETT WHITE knows how it feels for his club to be dragged through the mud after he was stripped of two premierships at Melbourne.

Goodwin's injury curse keeps him out of Charity Shield clash

DRAGONS utility Bronx Goodwin will miss this Friday's Charity Shield clash against the Rabbitohs and the opportunity to line up against his brother Bryson for the first time after suffering a pectoral injury in St George Illawarra's first trial match of the year.

Eels not alone in bid to lure Norman south

PARRAMATTA will have to fight off bids from St George Illawarra and Penrith to lure Corey Norman from Brisbane for next season.

Dobson inspires Hull KR to first win

Half-back Michael Dobson's 16-point haul helped Hull KR to a comprehensive 44-18 victory over Widnes Vikings on Sunday for their first win of the Super League season.

Panthers sign Cherrington from Roosters

Anthony Cherrington has become the third Sydney Roosters forward to depart the NRL club in the past two months after signing with rivals Penrith.

Related Coverage

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Final
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
England 3 1 2 0 0 2
Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
View all
 
Featured advertisers