Rugby League-Sonny Bill does u-turn, puts hand up for World Cup

Reuters

WELLINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Sonny Bill Williams has put his hand up for rugby league World Cup selection for defending champions New Zealand after having initially ruled himself out to take a holiday.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney did not include Williams in the squad he named on Tuesday because the dual international had "other commitments", but the 28-year-old, who helped the Sydney Roosters win Australia's National Rugby League title on Sunday, said he had had a change of heart.

"After a few tough seasons topped with an amazing one with the boys at the Roosters, I was then faced with the opportunity to have a long break and go on holiday with my family," Williams said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

"Without thinking the whole situation through thoroughly, I eagerly jumped at the chance to chill out and rest.

"After having some time to really think about how much representing my country means to me, I decided to then put my name forward for selection.

"Now I know the squads (sic) already picked and I understand if I can't be apart (sic) of it, but I'm here and ready to help the brothers if they want me."

Williams' availability would be a boost for the Kiwis' title defence and Kearney said the team were "exploring options" for his inclusion in the tournament starting Oct. 26 in Britain and France.

"Our thinking had always been that if Sonny was available, he would be part of the team," he said in a statement on New Zealand Rugby League's website (www.nzrl.co.uk).

"This would require ratification by the World Cup organisers."

Williams, who won a World Cup with the All Blacks in 2011, has been tight-lipped about his future plans, but is widely tipped to quit the NRL to revive his rugby union career in New Zealand with Super Rugby's title-holding Chiefs.

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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