Sonny Bill Williams' NRL return confirmed, named in Roosters team to play Raiders

Source: 1News

Sonny Bill Williams' return to the NRL has taken a significant step forward this afternoon with the former All Black named on the Roosters' bench for Saturday's game against the Raiders.

Williams has been handed the No.17 jersey by coach Trent Robinson for the match - the first time his name has featured in a Roosters line-up since 2014.

The 35-year-old joined the Roosters last month after his Super League club - the Toronto Wolfpack - confirmed they wouldn't participate in a season restart in the UK due to financial issues brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision paved the way for Williams to return to the NRL and after his two weeks in quarantine in Australia, he teamed up with Sydney and has been training with the side with the goal of featuring in the final few rounds of the competition before playoffs.

Roosters fullback James Tedesco says he's confident Williams will be up to the challenge after a quick return to playing.

"I think it would have been a risk if we tried to rush him in straight away. You know, he's had two weeks in quarantine, looking after his body and two weeks at training getting in the running and the body moving," Tedesco said.

"There is a lot of hype but it's warranted - the guy he is and the player he is.

"Everyone has high expectations going off what he did in the NRL a while ago now. But as a person and player, he is such a professional.

"He's going to be a class act for us. He's older and probably not as fit as he was in his 20s but, skilfully, he's still got it. I'm sure he'll hit pretty hard as well."

The Roosters play the Raiders at 9.30pm NZT on Saturday.