July 30, 2020 / 7:36 AM / 9 days ago

Rugby league: Kiwis coach Maguire open to talking to Williams

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand rugby league coach Michael Maguire is open to having a conversation with dual international Sonny Bill Williams about a return to the Kiwis side.

Williams, who has represented New Zealand in both rugby league and union, was due to land in Sydney on Thursday ahead of a second stint with the National Rugby League (NRL) champions the Roosters having been granted a release by Toronto Wolfpack.

“He’s coming back and no doubt at some stage depending on how he is playing, he will talk about that space when the time is right,” Maguire told reporters on Thursday when asked about trying to entice Williams back to the Kiwis.

“He’ll come back into the game performing the way he can.

“No doubt at some stage that conversation will happen.”

Williams won two Rugby World Cup titles with the All Blacks but returned to rugby league following their third-placed finish at last year’s global tournament in Japan.

The 34-year-old has not played for the Kiwis since 2013.

Maguire said the Kiwis did not have any fixtures confirmed this year but administrators were working to organise at least one.

“Of course that all depends on where COVID takes us,” he said. “I’m very keen to get my Kiwi boys back together.”

While Maguire said he was keen for him to re-join the Kiwis, he was aware Williams suggested he might play for Samoa if they wanted him.

“I imagine there will be (a tussle)” Maguire said.

“But I think the Kiwi jersey has given a lot of players a lot of opportunity in the game.

“The Kiwi jersey is the pinnacle for a player. For anyone who puts on that jersey there is a really high expectation now.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Robert Birsel

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