NZ Rugby says lessons learned over SBW jersey fiasco: 'We respect the right for people to be different'


Rugby New Zealand has acknowledged their handling of the Sonny Bill Williams jersey issue wasn't perfect and are looking to learn from the experience.

Williams has been granted the right to have sponsors BNZ and Investec removed from his playing and training jerseys due to his religion.

The decision came after Williams returned to Super Rugby last week following an injury but entered the field with strapping tape covering BNZ's logo on his collar.

Blues coach Tana Umaga said he didn't want to go into detail on the matter, instead focusing his side on rugby.

Umaga refused to elaborate more about Sonny Bill's jersey controversy, saying the matter had been resolved.
Source: 1 NEWS

"As a team we knew it would get sorted, we haven't really dwelled on it that much, obviously everyone else has."

Williams will wear the new jersey this weekend with number 12 on the back after he was named to start against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Blues captain James Parsons says he isn't fazed that one of his players will wear a differing jersey from the team.

Parsons says he isn't fussed that one of his players will be wearing a differing uniform from the team.
Source: 1 NEWS

"I was there to play rugby - I didn't even notice it," he said.

"I support him and his decision. It takes a lot of courage to do that and I feed off that and admire that."

Williams’ objection doesn't extend to any All Blacks jersey or training logos but he will continue to be used in a restricted role with some of their sponsors.

NZR general manager Neil Sorenson says the union learned from the experience.

"The key thing would've been a heads up [on] Monday or Tuesday to say, 'look, I'm really uncomfortable wearing this particular logo'", he said.

Sorenson said the union was open to more objections in the future.

"If there's one lesson out of this it's we respect the right for people to be different."

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