Sonny Bill forgiven by girlfriend after sex scandal

SYDNEY - Sonny Bill Williams' girlfriend is sticking by her man after the Kiwis rugby league star was sprung in a drunken encounter with an Australian ironwoman star in a pub toilet.

The incident dominated front pages in Sydney today as Williams and his New Zealand girlfriend Genna Shaw went public to vow their year-long relationship would survive the scandal.

Williams, 21, was sprung by several witnesses entering the cubicle with high-profile athlete Candice Falzon after an all-day drinking session with teammates at Sydney's Clovelly Hotel last weekend.

A cellphone photo of the pair in a compromising position, taken by a witness reaching under the cubicle, was also posted an a news website.

Shaw, 22, a former Auckland bar manager who moved to Sydney last year to live with Williams, said it had been "a very tough week" but she would forgive him.

"I am hurt. But this can only make us stronger. It would have to make us stronger as a couple, wouldn't it?," she told the Sun-Herald newspaper.

"... I believe him when he says he doesn't know what he was doing or where he was going. I would leave him if I didn't believe that."

Shaw and Williams went to the same primary school in Auckland but only became a couple when they met again after a New Zealand Warriors game against Williams' Bulldogs.

Williams, is one of league's highest-paid players and lives with Shaw in a five-bedroom mansion in the suburb of Caringbah.

He told the paper he had no memory of the incident.

"She's the most important thing in my life. Football's here for a lot of my life, but I want Genna involved for all of it," Williams said.

"I know it sounds so stupid saying I can't remember. But I can honestly say, I don't remember anything.

"I'm ashamed and embarrassed. I've really let down all my loved ones, especially Genna. I'm glad she has stuck by me."

Williams claimed the Easter Saturday bender was his first drinking session in five months and from now on he'd be "staying on the waters".

Falzon has been linked to a string of high-profile Australian sports stars and was last in the tabloid news when photographed kissing Little Britain television star David Walliams at a Sydney beach.

She said today she was "extremely sorry" and said it hurt that people would judge her family over the incident.

It has not been a great week for Williams whose Bulldogs lost 14-16 to Manly last night despite a brilliant Williams solo try.

He assembles in Brisbane tomorrow with the Kiwis to prepare for Friday's Anzac test against Australia.

- NZPA

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