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Sonny Bill to take youngster's spot on Roosters' roster

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The Sydney Roosters will create room in their NRL roster for Sonny Bill Williams by releasing youngster Asu Kepaoa. The Wolfpack have reportedly temporarily released Williams from his $10million dollar contract, freeing up the former All Black for a return to rugby league in Australia.


Williams is weighing up his options on a possible NRL return after the Toronto Wolfpack pulled out of this year’s English Super League.

The Roosters have the room within their cap to secure Williams but Kepaoa’s departure will give them the room they need in their 30-man roster. AAP understands the uncapped winger will be released to the Wests Tigers on a two-and-a-half-year deal that will see him link with the joint venture within days.

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It’s believed the youngster had already signed with the Tigers earlier this month from next year, with the Williams situation prompting the Roosters to offer an earlier release. The 20-year-old can play anywhere in the backline and scored five tries in 15 games for North Sydney in the NSW Cup last year.

For Williams to return he will need to gain approval from the Australian government given he is not a citizen and borders remain closed. He will also have to serve two weeks in quarantine, given he will be arriving from overseas.

There are, however, other hurdles for Williams and his Wolfpack teammates should they wish to come to Australia for the rest of 2020. The NRL confirmed to AAP on Thursday that players could not hold separate contracts in two leagues at the same time.


Likewise, loan agreements are only allowed between NRL clubs, meaning Williams could not be lent from the Wolfpack to the Roosters. There is also the potential that these regulations could be overlooked due to the coronavirus. Williams has never been motivated by money and there are questions about whether the Wolfpack will still figure in the top-tier next season.

The 34-year-old would provide a welcome option for the Roosters as they hunt for a third straight title. Their stocks have been hurt by lock Victor Radley and utility Sam Verrills being ruled out for the season with knee injuries. Second row Angus Crichton is also expected to miss the next month with a knee injury of his own.

– APP, additional reporting RugbyPass



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