Fast learner ... the new Roosters coach believes Sonny Bill Williams will have no problems adapting back to the league game, after a five year stint in union. Photo: Getty Images
SONNY Bill Williams has convinced new Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson that he will have little trouble adapating to the game when he makes his return after five years absence just weeks before the start of next season.
Williams, who yesterday confirmed he will fight South African heavyweight Francois Botha in Brisbane on November 24, is expected to finalise a one year deal with the Roosters while in Australia for the bout.
However, he will then return to Japan to continue his stint with Panasonic Wild Knights before joining the Roosters in February.
But after recently meeting with Williams in Japan, Robinson is confident the New Zealand superstar will fully focused and ready to play when he returns.
"He is a true professional in the sense that he is clear about the moment and what he has to do right now," Robinson said.
"He is also very clear about his training and the way he lives - not just the way he plays. They were the things that were impressive.
"He is going to need to get back in and train in the structures of rugby league again but he definitely won't come back unfit.
"It is incredible the way he is training and preparing over in Japan, and he is about to prepare for a fight so he is going to be ready physically.
"It is just a matter of re-adapting to the game. But I think he has played league for about 15 years."
Williams said he did not do the full pre-season training with his Chiefs team-mates in the lead up to this year's Super Rugby competition because he was fighting for the New Zealand heavyweight title, and it did not effect his form.
"I had a fight and that was eight weeks build up and I slotted back into footy two weeks before the first game of Super rugby and my fitness levels and everything were better than a lot of the boys," Williams said on South African radio.
Asked how his coaches reacted to him wanting to do that, Williams said: "I think once they know how dedicated I am they are pretty sweet. They just don't want to see me get knocked out I guess.
"For me the proof is in the pudding. The last couple of years I have played my best rugby and I think it is hugely down to the extra fitness I have gained from boxing on the side.
"I think the only way to go about these things is just to be straight up and tell them where you are and what you want to do. If they can accept it then they accept it, if not you just move on."
Robinson said he envisaged the All Blacks centre playing in the backrow in league.
"He will add a lot of value to what we do also to what the NRL is trying to do if he signs on," Robinson said.
With the Roosters not due to start off-season training until November 4, Robinson said he had yet met all the players but 16 of them were in the squad when he was assistant coach to Brian Smith in 2010.
Robinson said he would not make a decision on a captain until next year.