Rugby League: ‘Best player in the world’ Sonny Bill Williams heads for Doncaster

Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams

New Zealand’s dual code star Sonny Bill Williams is in line to play in Doncaster following his dramatic Rugby League World Cup U-turn.

The former All Black, who is also a heavyweight boxing champion in his home country, was yesterday confirmed in the Kiwis’ 24-man squad after initially telling selectors he had “other commitments”.

He could now feature for New Zealand in their World Cup warm up game against the Cook Islands at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday, October 20 (3pm).

Williams’ commitment to rugby league had again been called into question after he initially planned a long-awaited holiday for the summer after helping the Sydney Roosters win the National Rugby League grand final at the weekend.

But he changed his mind just a few hours after the squad was announced on Tuesday, telling coach Stephen Kearney he wanted to take part.

“After having some time to really think about how much representing my country means to me, I decided to then put my name forward for selection,” said Williams on Twitter.

“Now I know the squad’s been picked and I understand if I can’t be a part of it, but I’m here and ready to help the brothers if they want me.”

Doncaster’s former Kiwi international Tony Kemp has had his say. Kemp said: “He’s the best player in the world, he’s got to be in the side.

“But what it’s going to show is that Sonny Bill Williams is bigger than rugby league.”

New Zealand hope to defend their world title in England and Wales this summer.

Tickets for their warm-up match in Doncaster are available by calling 01302 762576.