11 Oct 2013

Sonny Bill Williams not returning to rugby

4:08 pm on 11 October 2013

Sonny Bill Williams has told the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Chiefs he won't be returning to rugby in New Zealand next year.

In a statement the NZRU's general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen says they are disappointed not to have signed Williams as they had worked hard to bring him back to New Zealand.

Williams was part of the All Blacks World Cup-winning side in 2011.

The statement also says Williams has told the Sydney Rooster NRL side, who he won the title with at the weekend, that he'll return to them for next year.

Sorenson says as they do with many players who leave New Zealand, they will continue to keep the lines of communication open with Williams about his playing future.

And while the Chiefs' efforts to court Williams for next season have failed, he's told the back-to-back Super Rugby champions that he's keen to sign on for 2015.

The Chiefs meanwhile have bolstered their loose forward stocks by re-signing former No 8 cum lock Kane Thompson and Wellington lock Ross Filipo for next year.

Southland midfielder Cardiff Vaega has claimed the final spot in the Hurricanes squad for 2014.