Sonny Bill Williams has challenged Phil ‘Gus’ Gould to provide opportunities for minorities in rugby outside of playing. Speaking to Gould on Nine Network’s 100% Footy, the 35-year-old flipped the interview and posed a challenge to the broadcaster, who has recently been named a consultant to the New Zealand Warriors.

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He said: “For me, I just try to look at things with the perspective of ‘what’s the best for my people?’ The Polynesians, the Maoris, the Aboriginals, the minorities.

“I would love to see you take someone under your wing and help us thrive, not just on the field. Because I think the numbers are we make up 50% or more on the field, so obviously we’re thriving in that sense.

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“What I would like to say, and what I would like to challenge you to do is help us thrive off the field, whether that be coaches, CEOs, on the boards, that type of level.

“I feel you’ve done a really great job at Penrith and I’m really excited about what you are going to do with the Warriors.”

Even in the twilight of his career, Williams remains a blockbuster player in either code, and his return to play in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters has received much fanfare.

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Being of Samoan heritage, he is undoubtedly aware of the platform he has and the ability to make a change, which even Gould noted in the interview, saying “everywhere you’ve gone you’ve had an influence; you’ve influenced other people, you’ve inspired kids”.

Despite the diversity of players that compete in the NRL, and indeed most competitions in either code, there is far less in terms of coaching positions, and this is something that the former All Black is wasting no time in addressing upon his return to league in Australia.

Williams has also opened up on his recent exit from the Toronto Wolfpack, admitting that he considered retiring when the coronavirus pandemic forced the Wolfpack to withdraw from the remainder of the 2020 Super League season.

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