Sonny Bill Williams would have considered swapping All Blacks for Samoa under new rules

Sonny Bill Williams Samoa

Sonny Bill Williams has said he would have considered switching his national allegiance from New Zealand to Samoa had the rules allowed it.

Williams won 58 caps for the All Blacks over a nine-year period and won numerous Rugby Championships and Bledisloe Cups with his country, as well as the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

Although he was born and raised in New Zealand, Williams was also eligible to play for Samoa, as his father Ioane hails from the Pacific Island nation.

Sonny Bill Williams on representing Samoa.

The former dual-code rugby international was speaking to New Zealand publication Stuff and admitted he would have considered swapping the All Blacks for Samoa, had the current national eligibility rules been in place.

“One hundred per cent. I kind of did it [representing Samoa] by going back to Tana [Umaga] and what he was trying to achieve at the Blues,” Williams said.

“Obviously, we didn’t achieve everything we wanted to, but I was in that space that I was well aware of what we could represent and what we could achieve as Polynesians and Māori. So, yes, I definitely would have entertained that idea.”

A number of former All Blacks are set to switch national allegiance.

Under new rules that have come into effect this year, players can change their national allegiance if they haven’t played international rugby for at least three years and if either themselves, their parents or their grandparents were born in the country they now wish to represent.

A number of former All Blacks can now represent other countries as a result, as the likes of Lima Sopoaga and Steven Luatua are eligible for Samoa, while Charles Piutau and George Moala can line out for Tonga.

New Zealand won’t be the only country to have former internationals playing for other countries of course, with the likes of ex-Australia star Israel Folau also eligible for Tonga.

Every country in the world will be able to avail of the rule changes, although the Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji look set to gain the most.

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