Sonny Bill Williams

Williams, Perofeta named to face Lions

Perofeta made his Super Rugby debut for the side in Apia last week, coming off the bench in the second half.

Coach Tana Umaga said Perofeta's performance in that game earned him a spot in the squad named to face The Lions.

"It's an opportunity for Stevie to step up, we think that he's ready to do that, he has a lot of experience and support around him.

"His skill set belies his age, he could have been on tour with the under 20s but we kept him behind, we just want to make sure he keeps developing, and he's earned the right to start for us this week," Umaga said.

Sonny Bill Williams sports his new jersey for Blues against Hurricanes

Sonny Bill Williams sported his newly-designed Blues jersey at Auckland's Eden Park tonight in his side's Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

The jersey was adorned with the Plunket logo stitched on to both sides of the collar.

New Zealand Rugby and the Blues this week to Williams' request to have advertising from BNZ and Investec removed from his jersey.

Williams raised eyebrows last week when he taped over the BNZ logo on the collar of his Blues jersey.

SBW made a mistake

Williams covered up the BNZ logo on his blues jersey in their match against the Highlanders last weekend due to religious beliefs.

NZR and the Blues have now given him permission have the logos of two banks, BNZ and Investec, removed from his kit.

NZR General Manager of Rugby, Neil Sorenson, said conscientious objections have

been in the collective employment agreement for almost ten years.

Sonny Bill Williams' jersey sponsor cover up attracts international attention

The rugby superstar, who gave no warning of his actions as he appeared off the Blues bench last Saturday, is yet to explain his stance but if his intention was to draw attention to the issue, he has certainly achieved that.

The story has been followed closely in Australia and South Africa, the partnering countries to New Zealand in Super Rugby, but the issue has gone wider than that.

The Irish Times noted Williams' stance in their latest rugby wrap and drew an analogy with boxing legend Muhammad Ali in a piece headlined: SBW – Islam versus Banking.

No resolution to SBW and sponsor's logo

A statement issued by the Blues this morning says they and New Zealand rugby have been in discussions with sponsors BNZ and will announce the outcome of those shortly.The statement said neither the Blues nor Williams will be making any comment prior to that.

Under their collective contract players can lodge conscientious objections to promoting finance, alcohol, tobacco, gambling companies and banks.

Blues don't know why Williams taped up logo

The taped-up collar was obvious when the All Black centre came off the bench in the Blues game against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday night.

It was understood Williams, who is Muslim, covered the logo for religious reasons.

Muslims believe the charging of interest is prohibited by the Quran.

As a part of their collective agreement any player can lodge a conscientious objection to promoting finance, alcohol, tobacco, gambling companies and banks.

SBW set for Blues debut

Williams hasn't played since rupturing his Achilles at the Rio Olympics in August.

He's one of three players welcomed back by the Blues with Steven Luatua returning after suspension and fellow loose forward Blake Gibson from injury.

All Black Rieko Ioane earns a recall to the starting line-up at centre after a big contribution off the bench in the win over the Western Force last weekend.

SBW’s return upon us

The Blues midfielder is available for selection for this weekend's Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Williams hasn't played rugby since rupturing his achilles tendon during the New Zealand Sevens' Rio Olympics campaign.

While the 31-year-old is considered fit to play, a minor foot injury could halt his return for another week.

RNZ reports the 23-man team will be named on Thursday.

Meanwhile the Blues first five troubles continue to go from bad to worse with Ihaia West ruled out for at least three weeks with an ankle injury.

Forget Sonny Bill Williams, Blues halfback Augustine Pulu could prove buy of the season

Every year the focus falls on the Blues No 10 jersey but the bloke inside him could prove more influential this season.

All the hype and expectation surrounding the Blues this year predominately emerged from the recruitment of Sonny Bill Williams. Now we know he won't feature for at least the first five weeks due to his recovery from an Achilles injury, Augustine Pulu could well prove a better piece of business.

Sonny Bill Williams lends Anthony Mundine $532,000 in handshake deal

The A$500,000 (NZD$532,000) loan came just before Mundine's recent fight against Danny Green, The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney reported.

There was no written agreement, just a handshake, the newspaper said.

It was the return of a favour, as Mundine gave Williams A$750,000 (NZD$800,000) in 2008 when Williams went to play rugby in France, leaving the Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league team.

"It's very hard to explain our brotherhood in words," Mundine said. "I didn't understand it until I became a Muslim. We trust and we love each other.