MELBOURNE: Sonny Bill Williams is poised to sign with National Rugby League champions Sydney Roosters and could arrive in Australia as early as next week, coach Trent Robinson said on Friday.
The dual code international was released by Toronto Wolfpack after the Canadian team pulled out of the restart of Super League Europe due to financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robinson said the Roosters were "down the track in discussions" with the Williams camp and expected the 34-year-old to be on a flight Down Under next week.
"There's a few things that need to be done to get it sorted but conversations are clear," Robinson told reporters.
"It's just all the details that need to get sorted with how it's going to work."
New Zealander Williams, who played a leading role in the Roosters' 2013 championship season, would need to seek an exemption from Australian authorities to land in the country due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
He would also need to serve a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.
Robinson said they were aiming to have Williams playing with "four to five games to go" in the regular season.
The Roosters are fifth in the table midway through the 20-round season.
The biggest hurdle for Williams may be negotiating a release from his two-year deal with the Wolfpack, worth a reported AUS$10 million (5.58 million pounds), the NRL's website (https://www.nrl.com/news/2020/07/24/robinson-confident-of-sealing-sbw-deal-in-next-few-days) said.
Players are not allowed to sign with an NRL team if they already hold a playing contract outside the league.
Williams won two rugby union World Cups with the All Blacks and also represented New Zealand in rugby league.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)