- New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on Wednesday defended special treatment given to code-swapper Sonny Bill Williams, saying it was needed to ensure he is ready to join the All Blacks' World Cup defence next year.
Williams, who is returning to rugby union after a second stint in Australia's National Rugby League, has been exempted from a rule that forces players to participate in the domestic ITM Cup before being eligible for All Blacks honours.
The move, announced this week, will allow Williams to slot straight back into the world champions' end-of-year tour to the United States and Europe.
"The reason why we want to take him on the end-of-year tour is because there's very limited Test matches between now and the World Cup," Hansen told RadioSport.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sonny Bill Williams
- National Rugby League
- All Blacks