Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams hasn’t been included in an all-star commentary lineup by Australian broadcaster Nine ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby AU campaign.
A report from the Sydney Morning Herald last month suggested Williams was being headhunted by the network to join their commentary team as a dual-code commentator in both rugby union and rugby league.
However, the two-time World Cup-winning All Black, two-time NRL champion and heavyweight boxer was missing from Nine’s rugby union commentary team when it was unveiled on Wednesday.
Instead, the broadcaster has recruited a raft of former Wallabies stars, such as Tim Horan, Morgan Turinui, Drew Mitchell and Justin Harrison, as well as ex-All Blacks playmaker Andrew Mehrtens and former dual-code star Allana Ferguson to join hosts Roz Kelly and Nick McArdle.
Experienced commentators Sean Maloney and Andrew Swain will act as the network’s play-by-play callers.
Last month’s Herald report indicated that Williams, who last featured for the Sydney Roosters as a loanee from the Toronto Wolfpack, wouldn’t make a decision on his sporting career until meeting with a neurosurgeon after sustaining a neck injury in the NRL.
The 35-year-old is yet to announce his next move, whether it be on or off the field, with his two-year, $10m contract with the Wolfpack in limbo given the Canadian club won’t take part in this year’s Super League due to implications brought on by COVID-19.
Nine took over from Fox as Australia’s premier rugby broadcaster after securing a $100m, three-year broadcast deal with Rugby Australia last year.
As part of the deal, Nine’s online streaming service Stan Sport will broadcast all Super Rugby AU, Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super W matches, as well as Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup, Wallaroos and inbound Wallabies, All Blacks, Springboks and Los Pumas tests.
Additional club games from New South Wales and Queensland will also be aired, with select games – including every Saturday night Super Rugby AU match – will be broadcast free-to-air on the Nine Network.
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