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Williams reveals long-term plan

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Sportal.co.nz     13 Oct 2013     Getty Images

A relaxed and jovial Williams fronted the media at New Zealand's World Cup headquarters on Sunday to outline his immediate future, which was clouded in mystery and uncertainty just a few days ago.

The premiership-winning Roosters star revealed:

- He will definitely return to rugby in 2015;

- A desire to represent New Zealand in Sevens at the 2016
Olympics;

- He sought the support of Kiwi teammates before deciding to make himself available for the World Cup;

- His continuing pain at seeing Tohu Harris removed from the squad to make room for him;

- The real reason for his clandestine meeting with NZ Rugby officials on Thursday;

- And the peace he now feels despite the critics' barbs.

That meeting
Williams joked that he hoped the media spies would leave him in peace now that everything was out in the open. The rumour mill went into overdrive on Thursday when the dual international and manager Khoder Nasser were spotted lunching with key New Zealand rugby officials. Williams says they were discussing plans for 2015, not signing a contract for 2014.

"The deal hadn't been done. I was just being honest and upfront with them. That's how I've always been," he explained.

"I've made my intentions clear – in doing the deal with the Roosters for next year – but I want to go back to the New Zealand Rugby Union to try and put my foot in the door for my franchise in New Zealand, hopefully the Chiefs (in 2015).

"It's good to have my made my intentions clear for the next three years and not have to worry about it."

Staying in league
Contrary to what many believed, the fact the Roosters won the NRL grand final actually helped their cause in retaining SBW. He feels there are still challenges to mount in the 13-man game.

Williams declared: "My year with the Roosters couldn't have gone any better. I feel the passion and the drive to hopefully go back-to-back is there and I just had to be honest with them."

The critics
SBW copped it from fans and large sections of the media following his World Cup backflip and, so it appeared at one stage, apparent move back to rugby next year.

"There's always going to be that (criticism)...whatever I do," he said.

"I just had to do what I felt was right in my heart and my gut. What I've figured in the last week more than ever is you can't please everyone, even though you want to. There's always going to be sour grapes in certain parts of the media but I can't control that.

"All I can control is how I operate as a person and a man. I know a lot of people will take it the wrong way but I can't worry about that. I've got a lot of support as well."

Tohu Harris
The Melbourne rookie was the fall guy after Williams decided to make himself available for the New Zealand World Cup squad after it was chosen, dropped from the 24-man tour party. SBW revealed he gave coach Stephen Kearney and teammates the option of blocking his return.

"It's definitely an unfortunate situation. I am very remorseful. I said to the coach I'm willing to drop out because I felt that bad but he told me I had the backing of all the senior players and they wanted me to part of it. I have to go with the coach's decision, the boys' decision, and the way I can repay that is by playing good footy," he said.

"That's what I do best."

Back in a New Zealand jersey
"It's awesome. It's awesome," a clearly enthusiastic Williams declared.

"I hadn't made my mind up (to play) until 24 hours after I spoke to 'Mooks' (Kearney). That was the hardest thing. I got back from not much sleep after (grand final) celebrations and I didn't really have time to think about it.

"So when he called up the body was a bit sore and I didn't really know what I was going to do. There was a chance I was going back to rugby. If I went back to rugby I didn't feel it was right for me to be putting my name forward for the World Cup.

"But 24 hours later I decided I was going to stay. As a league player the pinnacle is playing for your country, playing for New Zealand. I still haven't beaten Australia – I've had a draw – or England. To play in a World Cup is special.

Boxing, Rugby World Cup and the future
Williams plans to put his boxing career on hold for at least three years as he strives to make it into the All Blacks' World Cup squad for their 2015 title defence. The year after is the Rio Olympics where SBW would be a sensation in the Sevens tournament.

"In an ideal world, in a perfect world, if it all fell into place I'd like to do it," he said of the Cup-Olympics double.

"There's a lot of hard work and lot of things have to fall into place before that. I need to concentrate on what I need to concentrate on. There'll probably be no boxing for the next years because there's no time.

"I know the pressure is on myself but that's the way I like it because it seems to bring out the best in me. I'm happy to have got my future sorted. I'm just as over hearing what I want to do next year."