Sonny Bill rules out return to NZ rugby

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams has ruled out a return to rugby in New Zealand next season, though his future remains unclear.

New Zealand Rugby Union officials and representatives of the Chiefs team of Super Rugby met Williams and his manager Khoder Nasser in Sydney this week, increasing speculation he would return to rugby after a season in Australia's National Rugby League.

But Neil Sorenson, the New Zealand union's general manager of professional rugby, issued a statement Friday to say Williams would not play rugby in New Zealand in 2014.

It now seems more likely the 28-year-old will remain with the Sydney Roosters, with whom he won the NRL title last weekend.

"We worked pretty hard to bring Sonny home, and we have had some really good conversations with him," Sorenson said. "This is disappointing but we know we put our best foot forward, and in the end Sonny has made his decision.

"As we do with many players who leave New Zealand, we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with him about his playing career."

Williams was a member of the All Blacks team which won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and of the Chiefs team which won the Super Rugby title for the first time in 2012.

Williams earlier in the week reversed a decision to sit out New Zealand's defense of its Rugby League World Cup title in Britain later this month.

Coach Steve Kearney was widely criticized for cutting backrower Tohu Harris to accommodate the indecisive Williams, who walked out on the Kiwis rugby league team when he switched to rugby in 2008.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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