26 Aug 2014

SBW gets All Black exemption

12:55 pm on 26 August 2014

Sonny Bill Williams will not have to play provincial rugby this year to be selected for the All Blacks end of year tour.

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Williams is returning to rugby union at the end of his NRL season with the Sydney Roosters and is expected to turn out for Counties-Manukau in the ITM Cup.

However if the Roosters return to the NRL grand final and Counties miss out on the semi-finals Williams would only have one game where he could play for the Steelers.

New Zealand Rugby's policy is that players must play provincially before being selected for the All Blacks, but the chief executive Steve Tew says the board's agreed to use discretion in Williams' case.

He says the ultimate decision on whether the dual international goes on the All Blacks tour to Europe and the United States in November will be made by the coaches and Williams himself.

Tew says he still expects Williams to play for Counties if he is fit and the Roosters bow out of the NRL finals early.