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Sonny Bill Williams Auckland Blues and New Zealand player grant kit request

Thursday, 13 April 2017 :  Auckland Blues and New Zealand Rugby have “accommodated” a request from Williams, who said his objection was “central to my religious beliefs”.

Williams, a Muslim, will continue to wear the New Zealand kit, which features sponsorship from insurers AIG.

The 31-year-old said it was important to him to “do the right thing”.

“As I learn more and develop a deeper understanding of my faith I am no longer comfortable doing things I used to do,” he added.

Williams already had a “conscientious objection” in his central contract that meant he was not asked to do sponsorship work with companies related to finance, alcohol, tobacco or gambling.

These are granted by New Zealand Rugby “on the basis of genuine family, ethical or religious grounds”.

“Sonny holds clear religious beliefs in relation to this matter and we respect those,” said general manager Neil Sorensen.

“Conscientious objections need to be genuine, and we believe this is.”

Williams, who has boxed professionally, switched to rugby union from rugby league, and helped the All Blacks win the World Cup in 2015.

After his side beat Australia 34-17 in the final at Twickenham, Williams gave his medal to a young fan who raced on to the pitch to celebrate before being tackled by a security guard.

“He got smoked by the security guard, like full-on tackled,” Williams said at the time. “It was pretty sad. He’s just a young fella obviously caught up in the moment.”

Source : Internet

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