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SBW not considered for Kiwis: Kearney

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney insists superstar Sonny Bill Williams was never being considered for the rugby league Test against Australia.
SBW not considered for Kiwis: Kearney
by AAP

WELLINGTON, April 23 AAP - New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney insists superstar Sonny Bill Williams was never being considered for the rugby league Test against Australia.

A report on Tuesday claimed Williams planned to boycott the May 2 Test, still angry at being implicated in a sleeping pill and energy drink scandal on last year's World Cup tour in England despite being cleared of any wrongdoing.

But Kearney said on Wednesday he and fellow selectors weren't planning to pick the dual international anyway as they're planning for the next World Cup in 2017 and Williams is going back to rugby union after this season.

Kearney said he had heard reports Williams was unavailable, but hadn't heard from the player himself.

"From the selectors' point of view, we've approached this Test match with the mindset of looking to win the next World Cup," he said.

"From a selection process, that's what we went about, so Sonny hasn't been spoken about because of the mindset we've taken with the future in mind."

Asked if the selectors had let Williams know this, Kearney said: "We've tried to, yes.

"I'm not going to get into the details. We've gone through our process of trying to make everyone aware of what our plans are."

Kearney was delighted to see former Kiwi captain Benji Marshall planning to return to the NRL after admitting failure in his code switch to Super Rugby's Auckland-based Blues.

Marshall has instructed his manager to open talks with NRL clubs after requesting an immediate release from his Super Rugby contract and Cronulla are the early favourites to sign the former Wests Tigers' playmaker.

"It's wonderful to have him back in our game if he finds a club, but he hasn't come into our conversation as selectors for this Anzac Test," said Kearney.


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