Sonny Bill Williams added to New Zealand squad

Sonny Bill Williams has been drafted in to New Zealand‘s World Cup squad, replacing Melbourne’s Tohu Harris.

Williams, 28, was omitted from the initial 24-man squad announcement having made himself available, but appeared to have a change of heart.

Kearney said prior to the announcement: “Late on Tuesday, Sonny Bill Williams expressed his desire to play for the Kiwis in the Rugby League World Cup

“Our thinking had always been that if Sonny was available, he would be part of the team. We are now exploring options around Sonny’s possible inclusion in the tournament. 

“This would require ratification by the World Cup organisers.”

Sonny Bill’s inclusion means he now has the chance of a unique World Cup double, having won the Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks back in 2011.

The news is a disappointment for Harris, 21, who enjoyed a fine debut season in the NRL, missing just one match for the Storm, and making his debut in April’s test match.

He was nominated for the Dally M Rookie of the Year award, and also played in the World Club Challenge win over Leeds.

Harris said: “As you would expect, I’m very disappointed not to be heading to the World Cup to represent my country, New Zealand.

“I was very much looking forward to going, however I understand the decision that has been made and hope I get another opportunity to play for the Kiwis in the future.”

The NZRL invited Harris to join the squad as part of the travelling party, but Melbourne, with full support of their player, declined the opportunity.

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