NZRU makes offer to Sonny Bill - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZRU makes offer to Sonny Bill

23/05/2010 04:30:00 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Rugby Union has made a formal offer to lure former rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams home to play the 15-man code.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry will reportedly meet Williams' Australian agent next week as speculation mounts the former Kiwis international could play provincial level rugby in New Zealand this year.

North Harbour, Auckland and Counties-Manukau are three unions chasing Williams' signature, according to a report in Sunday News, while Williams' agent Khoder Nasser was doing little to douse the flames of speculation.

"We've made an offer to Sonny Bill to come and play rugby from July," NZRU acting chief executive Neil Sorensen said.

"We think he's a special athlete. For a guy who's still relatively new to the game his potential is enormous. We're really keen for him to be part of our environment."

Sorensen said if Williams "had a dream run and all the stars aligned" he could be chosen for the All Blacks' end-of-year tour to Hong Kong and Europe.

He said the NZRU was hopeful of beating a hefty bid from Williams' current club Toulon and other French sides, plus interest from the NRL, where Williams controversially fled his Canterbury Bulldogs contract in 2008.

Sorensen, the NZRU professional rugby general manager, said the offer to Williams was "appropriate" for his potential.

"He's not being offered ridiculous money," he said.

"He is an Auckland boy and so we would imagine his first preference would be in the upper North Island to start with."

Sorensen said the offer extends to the end of 2012 but includes opt-out clauses.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry recently revealed he had spoken with Williams and been impressed by his attitude towards rugby and a return to New Zealand.

He was impressed by how well the strapping former league forward had adapted to rugby union backline play.

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