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New Zealand Rugby confirms SBW domestic exemption

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James Mortimer     26 Aug 2014     Getty Images

However depending on the circumstances, Williams may turn out for Counties-Manukau in the ITM Cup.

Williams, player number 1108 to wear the black jersey, is currently playing in the NRL, and has signed a two year contract with the Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.


The 29-year-old made his Test debut for the All Blacks against England on the 6 November, 2010, and played 19 times scoring six tries.

NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew confirmed that the board had gone through Williams situation to ensure he ticked the eligibility box, and now the decision on whether or not he tours with the All Blacks during their Air New Zealand end of year tour to Chicago and Europe will lie with the Test selectors.

'”It is still expected he will play ITM Cup rugby, but that is dependent on how the Roosters do in the NRL,” Tew said.

"There were a number of unknowns around the situation which made it sensible to leave some flexibility.”



“The board were asked on Friday what they were comfortable with in terms of how many games he had to play to tick the box. We have made a big investment in Sonny Bill Williams and if the coaches believe we get the most out of that investment by taking him on the tour in November then they should have the discretion to do so.”

"That's entirely in the hands of the All Blacks coaches and Sonny Bill himself because he will have to make an assessment about whether touring at the end of the year is the best thing for him or not."

Counties Manukau CEO Andrew Maddock told Newstalk ZB today that technically Williams had signed with the Ranfurly Shield holders for the 2015/2016 season, so in theory having Sonny Bill in their colours early would be a bonus.

“He's not even contracted with us for this year,” Maddock said.


“It's just if he is available then he will enter into a short-term contract with us."

Williams, playing for the Roosters, averages 22 tackles and 2.4 offloads a game with 126 running metres in the 2014 league season.

The All Blacks play the United States to open their EOY tour in a historic Test in Chicago on November 2, followed by England at Twickenham on November 9, Scotland in Murrayfield on November 16, finishing with the Welsh at Millennium Stadium on November 23.