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Odds shorten on Williams's return to NRL as he snubs rugby backer

Date

Marc Hinton

Meeting … Williams, right, and Nick Politis (in glasses).

Meeting … Williams, right, and Nick Politis (in glasses). Photo: James Alcock

ALL BLACKS star Sonny Bill Williams has given another indication he will return to the NRL by refusing to extend his relationship with New Zealand rugby's biggest sponsor.

Williams's management has so far rebuffed approaches by adidas to extend his endorsement of its sports clothing.

Adidas signed Williams to be part of its global rugby stable last year, and at the time the deal was hailed an important factor in his decision to commit to New Zealand rugby - the group providing the additional income and profile the Williams camp sought.

But it appears the relationship might have cooled a little, although adidas is known to covet the popularity of the code-hopping Williams, who continues to mix his boxing ambitions with his rugby career.

There is also strong evidence the member of last year's World Cup-winning squad is set to return to the NRL and sign with the Sydney Roosters next year. He was photographed by The Sun-Herald meeting Roosters chairman Nick Politis on New Year's Eve.

It's also believed the 26-year-old Williams is being lined up for a potentially huge deal with Quade Cooper, who is also managed by Khoder Nasser. Cooper's contract with Australian rugby finishes at the end of this year.

Williams's reluctance to cosy up to adidas could lend credibility to the theory he plans to return to the league. It is understood the most recent adidas proposal sought a commitment from Williams that he would stay in the 15-man code beyond this year. This is believed to be the reason for Nasser's opposition to extending the deal.

It has been noticeable that Williams has not worn any adidas regalia in preparation for his bout against American heavyweight Clarence Tillman in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Wednesday night.

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Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
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RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
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RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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