9 Oct 2013

Kearney confirms SBW back-flip over World Cup

8:10 am on 9 October 2013

Sonny Bill Williams has had a change of heart about playing in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, and now wants to be part of the Kiwis' Cup defence.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney says he heard from Williams late yesterday, who expressed his desire to play for the Kiwis in the World Cup - just a day after saying he wasn't available as he was going to have a break and spend time with family and friends.

Kearney says they're now exploring options around the dual international's possible inclusion in the tournament, but this will require ratification by the World Cup organisers.

The maximum number of players in a World Cup squad is 24, so if Williams was to be included he would need to replace another squad member.

Williams' inclusion would be a huge boost to the World Cup and to the Kiwis' hopes of successfully defending the crown they won in 2008.

And the change of heart is sure to fuel speculation that the dual international could re-sign with the NRL champion Sydney Roosters for another season, rather than returning to rugby with the Chiefs in 2014.