New Zealand Rugby have indicated they will require some form of clarification over Sonny Bill Williams' private sponsorship stance.

Williams put himself back in the news last weekend by taping over the BNZ logo on his Blues jersey in his Super Rugby comeback on Saturday night.

It's been seen as a religious stand by Williams, a Muslim, who was playing his first match in the 15-man game since the 2015 World Cup final, after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered at the Rio Olympics sevens.

Williams lodged a conscientious objection with New Zealand Rugby. Any player has a right to lodge such an objection to promoting finance, alcohol, tobacco, gambling companies and banks.


Williams tweeted yesterday that he intends to clarify his position during the week.

NZR boss Steve Tew told Fairfax Media a sit-down with WIlliams and the national union would be needed in due course.

"We've got an eye to it," Tew told Fairfax. "He has exercised a clause in his contract, and all the players are entitled to do that.

"We think it's an appropriate clause, but the extent to which that is done is obviously something we'll need to be discussing with [Williams' manager] Khoder [Nasser] and Sonny Bill in due course."

Williams is not the only top rugby player in New Zealand to exercise his right to not promote certain sponsors.

It is understood that others have had issues with fast-food giant KFC and have alerted New Zealand Rugby that they would rather not appear in advertisements. Even those who do have negotiated strict rules with the help of their players' association.

Some have felt that professional athletes backing a fast food company would send the wrong message when obesity, particularly among children, is becoming such an issue in New Zealand. Those that do appear in the television ads are never seen eating the product.

Tew conceded that while players' individual beliefs had to be protected, sponsors' interests also needed to be taken into account.

"They are crucial," he said. "We've obviously got some very loyal and supportive commercial partners and we'll make sure they're kept abreast of what's going on."