• SBW calls for islanders’ inclusion

    New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams has called on the country’s governing body to ensure that the new coaching unit includes someone with Pacific Island or Māori blood.

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    The departure of Steve Hansen and his likely successor has sparked wide debate in the country, with the fallout from their dramatic semi-final defeat only serving to intensify matters.

    Williams, likely to announce his retirement following Friday’s third/fourth playoff against Wales, has now entered the fray with a suggestion of changing up the current status quo.

    ‘There are a lot of coaches leaving at the end of the year, and one thing that I would probably put to the NZRU, it would be good to see a Pacific Islander or Māori in the coaching system that would have a bit of influence,’ said Williams, who is of Samoan descent.

    ‘Because of the way the game is going, and it is today. There are a lot of island boys, a lot of Māori boys who play for the All Blacks. I am just thinking how we can get a lot more out of those boys.

    ‘I know that there is a bit of space there for that growth.’

    Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made his intentions for the top job well known, while the likes of Joe Schmidt, Dave Rennie, Jamie Joseph and Warren Gatland have all been linked with the role.

    Current attack coach Ian Foster has spent eight seasons with the All Blacks and remains the front-runner to replace Hansen.

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    Wade Pretorius