Could Sonny Bill Williams become a Waratah?

Tristan Rayner Editor

By Tristan Rayner, Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    Sonny Bill WilliamsSonny Bill Williams is reportedly considering a move to the NSW Waratahs, in what would be a shock return to his hometown of Sydney and a move away from the All Blacks.

    The Waratahs have emerged as contenders for Williams, who could become the face of rugby in Sydney.

    While the New Zealand Rugby Union has received a verbal agreement from Williams and his management to stay in New Zealand, NZRU boss Steve Tew confirmed that Sonny Bill has yet to put pen to paper.

    “No we haven’t [signed him] but Sonny Bill has been very kind in public saying he intends to stay in New Zealand. Until he decides where he is going to play his footy we won’t get pen to paper and I have been saying that whenever anyone talks to me about Sonny Bill,” Tew told Radio Sport.

    The Waratahs reportedly approached Williams’ management about a deal last month.

    At that time they were told he was tied up for next year. However, that no longer appears the case and Williams remains without a New Zealand Super Rugby team, despite speculation he would sign with Auckland side the Blues.

    Williams’ current coach, Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder, has confirmed ‘SBW’ is leaving his franchise. The question is to where.

    ”We have still got a spot or two in our squad,” Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen told the Herald.

    ”If the question is would we ever want him in our squad if we could fulfil any financial demands – of course, without a doubt.

    We would be thrilled, he would be a real asset here. I think we have a pretty strong program to support him.”

    Another potential move would be to the Queensland Reds, with Williams interested in playing alongside close friend Quade Cooper. The two share the same player agent, Khoder Nasser.

    Nasser’s only comment to the Herald was aimed at dousing speculation: “We have given the NZRU an agreement that Sonny will be there next year.”

    Time will tell whether that turns out to be the case.

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via racingtalk.com.au.

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    The Crowd Says (82)

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:06pm
      Shaun said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      Just a bit of fishing, surely? Mind you, SBW was noticeably disinterested during the anthem and haka on Saturday. Maybe “impact player” at RWC wasn’t quite what his manager had in mind?

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:16pm
      kingplaymaker said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      12 minutes is not a fair chance for the best centre in the Super rugby competition. He has had no chance yet after such an outstanding season. He has not yet started a test.

      Maybe Henry will give him this FAIR CHANCE soon, but if he doesn’t and loses SBW, it will be Henry’s fault for NOT GIVING HIM A FAIR CHANCE.

      If SBW is GIVEN A FAIR CHANCE and fails terribly, then it will be SBW’s fault.

      But if SBW is given NO CHANCE then it will be Henry’s fault, and to fail will a player as spectacularly talented as SBW would be a big and horrible loss for New Zealand rugby.

      • August 10th 2011 @ 12:26pm
        Shaun said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        yeah yeah we get it, you want SBW to be given a fair chance. Got it. Sweet. Move on.

        • August 10th 2011 @ 12:48pm
          kingplaymaker said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          Shaun often the point needs to be made clearly in SBW’s case so obsessive are his detractors, especially in New Zealand where everyone seems to want nothing more in life than that he fail for the All Blacks.

          • August 10th 2011 @ 6:05pm
            Chuck said | August 10th 2011 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

            KPM reality is who gives a rats if he goes to that pathetic outfit otherwise know as the Waratahs. He’ll never ever don a jersey for Australia. How long would he stay at the Tahs until he gets bored there also?

      • August 10th 2011 @ 12:52pm
        Jerry said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        No offence KPM, but your use of capitals in defence of SBW makes me imagine you’re posting a youtube blog in the style of that LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!! guy.

        • August 10th 2011 @ 12:58pm
          kingplaymaker said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Jerry I can’t get my computer to make italics for emphasis actually so that’s why, though capitals do make the point strongly 🙂

          • August 10th 2011 @ 1:05pm
            Chris said | August 10th 2011 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            Ever read the boy who cried wolf?

            If you try and emphasise everything then nothing is emphasised.

          • August 10th 2011 @ 7:55pm
            McGee said | August 10th 2011 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

            I agree KPM and I am an Aussie Fan. I hope the reds pick him up!

            Genia, Cooper, Ioane, SBW, Fiangaa, Davies, Morahan. Wow what a backline!

      • August 10th 2011 @ 3:02pm
        Kuruki said | August 10th 2011 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

        Are you sure your name is not Khoder Nasser??. Maybe instead of concentrating on filling his pockets in the boxing ring he should have dedicated all his time to trying to improve on the rugby field. Instead he sat on the sideline because of lack of recovery.
        If anyone is to blame about his lack of game time it is himself.
        New Zealand rugby has an endless supply of new talent waiting to become the next big name in Rugby. Sonny will be a loss to New Zealand rugby, but getting Khoder Nasser off our shores would easily make up for that.

      • August 10th 2011 @ 3:57pm
        flying hori said | August 10th 2011 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

        Yes would’nt aussie like to have him eh, at the moment he can’t oust Nonu and Smith, he needs to bide his time and when it comes its all up to him. I thought ALL australia hate him for leaving the Dogs? now they love to have him

        • August 10th 2011 @ 9:11pm
          kaha said | August 10th 2011 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

          I haven’t heard any australian wants him in australia. He’s just waiting to see if he makes the all black wc squad before he makes his choice. He’s bllackmailing henry .DUMP HIM I SAY.

        • August 12th 2011 @ 12:38pm
          JT said | August 12th 2011 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

          No way!!! No SBW in QLD rugby. He had a chance and took the money over respect. Hope he stays over the ditch. Don’t care how good he thinks he is.

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:22pm
      nafe said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

      turn it up, it’s not all about SBW eh. He’ll get his shot in South Africa, but he has to earn his spot just like everyone else.
      If he can’t handle the jandle, he can p–s off back to league. Sonny Bill is good in Super 15, but largely unproven at test level, reminds me of Q Cooper. If he wants to stay for the right reasons, good on him. If not, there’s plenty of other options for the AB’s in the centres.

      • August 10th 2011 @ 12:43pm
        kingplaymaker said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        no there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between him and Quade Cooper as SBW has had ONLY TWO STARTS and they were both before his FIRST SUPER RUGBY SEASON

        • August 10th 2011 @ 6:12pm
          Chuck said | August 10th 2011 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

          Why the hell should he be given a start KPM except to sate your own notions of what is best for him.
          He should only be given a start if and when he deserves it. They are in the midst of the Tri-Nations playing the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the world. would you really drop your in form centres to see if he was the real deal before either trophy was in the bag?
          Now the Bledisloe is in the bag for another year I would put money on SBW getting a start to see how he goes.
          But again WHY should he be given a start ahead of the best centre pairing in the world of Nonu and Smith?

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:24pm
      Geoff Brisbane said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      Hasn’t he just signed for Auckland?

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:36pm
      nathan said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

      @ shaun:
      i would say that this waratahs talk is all hype that always follows sbw around.
      also i would agree that he seemed a little unanimated but i think that is more a reflection of his humble personality.
      finally i do not believe he will be an impact player during the rwc. as graham henry said, he was only benching him in order to give nonu-smith more game time together, especially smith, since they did not have very drawn out super campaigns. we should start to see sbw start very soon- probably the boks in 2 weeks- and as long as he can impress then there will be no pressure from nonu that will require the benching of sbw, since he has already had a much more successful super season. he had the most offloads, second highest line-break assists (after quade cooper) and the 13th highest metres gained in the super15 season. plus he was way ahead of any other centre in these awesome stats.

      • August 10th 2011 @ 3:09pm
        Kuruki said | August 10th 2011 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

        Yes those stats are mighty impressive but there’s one stat that you are forgetting. Nonu and Smith are the most experienced center combination in the World and they will both start every pressure game in this World cup.
        Quade Cooper also has some great stats in the Super 15, we all saw what that equates to on Saturday. Absolutely nothing.
        Sonny is fighting for a backup role with Kahui, one will miss the cut.

    • August 10th 2011 @ 12:43pm
      darwin stubby said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      If he’s got any smarts whatsoever – he’d head to the chiefs – they’re on the rise next year with one of the best coaching set ups in NZ SR rugby …

      Heading to the tah’s just equals probably a bit extra cash over what he’s getting now and zero profile .. potentially if he pulls his head in and knuckles down to learning within the AB environment – he could be a global star – similar to Lomu

      • August 10th 2011 @ 12:50pm
        kingplaymaker said | August 10th 2011 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        DS I think the Waratahs stuff is a press creation, not least because even Nasser just said he is staying in New Zealand another year. But I also he think he has the right to have a chance at a starting spot this year. He has done his time and the stats nathan points to above shows he has a right to state his case as a starter.

        To be fair to him he has hardly been very arrogant and in fact has been very humble during his time in New Zealand.

        • August 10th 2011 @ 1:20pm
          darwin stubby said | August 10th 2011 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          of course it’s nothing but press speculation …. the done his time argument doesn’t actually wash – he’s been back in NZ 5 minutes and has been fast tracked through to where he is now …. you can’t say he’s done his time over say Nonu (who most definitely has done his time and shown loyalty to NZ rugby over the process) … he’ll get a run or 2 over the next few weeks … somehow I hardly think he’s been kept in the corner and not told anything .. all of the players would have a dialogue with the NZ coaches – so I’m sure he’s well aware of what expected and when and where he’ll be getting a run

        • August 10th 2011 @ 2:22pm
          AdamS said | August 10th 2011 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          Kingplaymaker, why should they invest overly in SBW?
          he has given no commitment (worth anything) to even be in NZ next year let alone any indication that he wants to make a name for himself as an AB long term.
          The way he is going he could skate through , get a WC final and win it then scoot back to france and the $$.
          What sort of message does that send to other NZ players?

          • August 11th 2011 @ 1:06pm
            Dave said | August 11th 2011 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

            Exactly, when he announced he was staying for another year it was like we should all kiss his bum for doing us all such a great favour.

        • August 10th 2011 @ 3:22pm
          Kuruki said | August 10th 2011 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

          He has played one season of Super rugby how the heck does that equate to “he has done his time”. SBW was picked into the All Black squad after one season of ITM in NZ. No bloody way has he “done his time”. There are guys who have been around the blocks alot longer then SBW who have not been given the same opportunities he has. He still needs time, he still forces passes he still makes unforced errors, this is the biggest stage in World rugby, you don’t just hand out starts to a player because fans want to see him play. Look at Hosea Gear, how many seasons was he the leading try scorer in the NZ competition before he was given a fair chance??.
          Just because you have a fascination with Sonny Bill does not mean he is the right player for the job. As far as i am concerned he should be humbled to have been given the opportunities he has and if he continues to play well then maybe he will earn some more game time. Nonu and SBW could be used as impact players but it would be a pretty safe bet that Conrad Smith wont be going anywhere. My guess is that SBW will start the games against the lower ranked sides. Nonu will start in the big games as he is the incumbent and he has done a hell of allot more hard yards then Sonny to deserve it.

          • Roar Guru

            August 10th 2011 @ 7:39pm
            Damien said | August 10th 2011 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

            Good point on Gear. I thought he’d never get a chance.

            I’m sure SBW will get a chance in the return games for the AB’s to state his case then a decision will be made. No dramas there.

            Thats being said, no matter how disappointed SBW must have felt to only get 10 mins I’m sure he would have felt more than alittle uncomfortable with Mundines tweet (I don’t mind Mundine BTW). I’m sure it wasn’t meant with any malice. Mundine was probably just disappointed for SBW as well, but it just felt alittle off. I can imagine someone at the Daily Telegraph putting up a headline “Mundine Says All Blacks Don’t Respect SBW !!” followed by statements taken completely out of context..

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