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RugbyU: New Zealand's Williams to return to union in 2015


Cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams said Sunday he will return to rugby union in 2015 after completing a second season with Australian National Rugby League champions the Sydney Roosters.

Williams, 28, last week opted against returning to New Zealand rugby to instead spend another season with the Roosters, who beat Manly in last weekend's NRL grand final.

But Williams, who flies to the United Kingdom with the Kiwis on Monday for this month's rugby league World Cup, said he will go back to New Zealand in 2015 where he hopes to link up again with Super Rugby champions Waikato Chiefs, his championship-winning 2012 franchise.

Williams said he will also put his boxing career on hold for the next three years to focus on getting to the Rio Olympics with the New Zealand sevens side in 2016 -- a year after helping the All Blacks try to retain the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.

"It's been a tough couple of days but I am happy to have my future sorted," Williams told reporters at the New Zealand team training camp in Sydney.

"I will go back to the New Zealand Rugby Union to try and put my foot in the door for a franchise in New Zealand, hopefully the Chiefs.

"But I understand, with the situation of staying in league, that might not be an option.

"But it's good to have made my intentions clear for the next three years. I wanted to put it all out there as I am overhearing what I am going to do... (from) everyone else.

"I won't have the time to box in the next three years."

The Roosters last week said Williams had committed to playing for the club next year, although nothing had been signed.

"The club anticipates that Williams will officially sign in mid-February 2014 for the remainder of the season on the same terms and conditions as his 2013 contract," it said.

Auckland-born Williams began his career in league, winning the 2004 NRL title with the Canterbury Bulldogs in his debut season before controversially walking out on the team mid-contract to play rugby union in France.

He was equally successful in the 15-man code, contributing to the 2011 World Cup win by the All Blacks and snaring the 2012 Super 15 title with the Waikato Chiefs before playing with the Roosters this year.