The New Zealand Rugby League's chief executive Jim Doyle says Sonny Bill Williams can't expect to walk straight back into the Kiwis' World Cup plans when he makes his National Rugby League return next year.
Williams will quit the Chiefs at the end of their Super Rugby campaign before starting a lucrative 10-game stint in Japan.
He will then sign a 12-month contract with an NRL club, widely expected to be the Sydney Roosters, ending his five-year exile from league after his controversial exit from Canterbury midway through the 2008 season.
The Kiwis will defend the World Cup they won in Brisbane four years ago in the UK and Ireland from October 2013.
And should Williams be selected in Stephen Kearney's squad, he could become the first player to win both the Rugby and Rugby League World Cups, having featured in the All Blacks' success last year.
Doyle admits the prospect of the 26-year-old adding to the seven caps he won with the Kiwis before his defection to the 15-man game is exciting.
However, he says if Williams is only returning to rugby league for one season, the Kiwi selectors may decide not to include him in next year's World Cup squad.