Sonny Bill Williams addresses NRL return rumours: ‘I have to keep the wife happy’

AUCKLAND, 06 AUGUST 2018 (STUFF NZ) – Sonny Bill Williams hasn’t shut the door on a return to rugby league after next year’s Rugby World Cup and confirms he is studying towards a coaching career.

On Australian television Williams addressed rumours he would end his career with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL, saying he was solely concentrating on making it to Japan next year with the All Blacks.

“I’m 34 next year. I’m just happy doing what I love doing and I’m really concentrating on things off the field,” Williams said on Fox Sports’ Sunday Night with Matty Johns.

“I really want to affect my Pasifika people. With that comes responsibility. I need more knowledge in that field; I’m studying, I’m doing my coaching papers.

“I don’t know. I feel like, God willing, if I can make it through next year and make that World Cup side, then after that I have to keep the wife happy, and if I do play on it’ll have to be in a place where I can still have a voice.”

Williams is sidelined by injury but is expected to be named in the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship squad on Monday, with a view to returning later in the competition.

His NZ Rugby contract runs until the end of next year’s World Cup.

A decade on from his shock walkout on NRL club the Canterbury Bulldogs, Williams said he stood by the decision but regretted how it happened.

In July 2008 he stunned league fans by boarding a plane to France to join his current Blues coach Tana Umaga at rugby club Toulon.

“I still stand by my decision to leave. As a young fella you’re a bit rash and you do things you probably regret, and I’m no different. I’m human and I make mistakes,” Williams told Sunday Night with Matty Johns.

“When I came to that decision to leave, although things weren’t going the right way off the field I felt like I was backed into a corner and that’s all I could do.

“Obviously hindsight is a great thing and looking back now, if I was a lot more confident in myself as a man I probably would have spoken to the administration and told them ‘I’m going to leave if you guys don’t do what you promised me’, which they hadn’t.”

Roosters supremo Nick Politis lured him back to the NRL after Williams won his first of two World Cups with the All Blacks in 2011, and he won a premiership in 2013 before returning across the Tasman to the black jersey.

His close relationship with Politis has led to rumours he will rejoin the Roosters in 2020.

“Pretty much as soon as I left rugby [in 2008] we started that conversation. We came to a mutual agreement, call it a handshake agreement if you like, that if I did come back to rugby league [in 2012] it would be with the Roosters.

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