SBW: Maybe, No, Yes

The first question, impolitely rhetorical, was WTF? The answer to the second question – will the Kiwis still want him? – will be decided today. Sonny Bill Williams has flip-flopped. Again. After keeping the coach and team waiting, then turning selection down, the 28-year-old has today made himself available for the Rugby League World Cup, to be held in Britain later this month. If chosen, it will cost a loyal Kiwi player his place in the team.

Fans are in uproar, commentators are fulminating but the man himself remains tight-lipped about his on-again, off-again, on-again flirtation with three sporting codes: league, rugby and boxing.

Emblematic of how William’s behaviour divides fans is a poll run by the Sydney Morning Herald. Which sport, league or rugby, would you like to see SBW play, the newspaper asked its league-mad readers. More than 60% said rugby. They don’t like him.

But his 13th hour change of mind will help the New Zealand team, already hit by injury, defend its world title against the No 1 ranked side, Australia, and a resurgent Great Britain.

Two automatic selections – formidable back-rower Jeremy Smith and star centre Shaun Kenny-Dowell – are missing. Smith is at home caring for his premature born baby, while Kenny-Dowell broke his jaw playing the National Rugby League grand final in Sydney last week.

New Zealand’s opening match is against Samoa at St Helens on 27 October.

Tags: Auckland  Boxing  Rugby  Rugby League World Cup  Sonny Bill Williams  Sydney Morning Herald (The)  

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Erika Fairweather has won her maiden swimming world championship title with victory in the women’s 400m freestyle final in Doha. The 20-year-old from Dunedin is the first New Zealander to win…