Former Kiwis coach and leading players agent Frank Endacott says Sonny Bill Williams' French flit is "an absolute disgrace" and agrees he should be banned for life from the National Rugby League.
Endacott said Williams' walkout from the Bulldogs for a reputed $3.9-million, two-year rugby union deal in France showed "a lack of respect" by the Kiwis second rower for "his club, fellow players and the game".
Williams' credibility had been "destroyed in one hit".
"If you sign a five-year contract and you're in year one, you see the deal through; you honour it," Endacott said. "You just don't walk away in the first year. Or, if you're not happy, you ask for a release. You can always get one, if both sides agree. Sometimes people have genuinely got a reason to leave. I've never seen a problem that can't be ironed out by sitting around a table."
But Williams never gave the Bulldogs a bargaining opportunity by flying to France without a word to club officials just days before an NRL game.
Endacott backed National Rugby League (NRL) chief executive David Gallop's call that Williams should be banned from the NRL for life.
He said league authorities had to take a tough stand.
"If they don't do anything, they will open the doors for others to do it. It sets a precedent."
Williams would be "a huge loss, as a player" for the Kiwis' World Cup campaign, Endacott said. "But he's walked out on his clubmates, so how would his Kiwis team-mates feel? You want guys beside you in your national team jersey who you would want to go in the trenches with.
"But he's shown disrespect to everyone. I'd say he's got some real poor advice from somewhere."
The NRL and the Bulldogs confirmed yesterday they were going to the Supreme Court seeking an injunction to stop Williams playing elsewhere.
Gallop believed Williams might not be aware of the possible ramifications of breaking his contract.
"Proceedings will seek to restrain Sonny Bill Williams from playing anywhere in the world, other than in accordance with the contract with the Bulldogs," Gallop said.
"The consequences of breaching an injunction when put in place are that he is liable to contempt of court proceedings that can involve everything from arrest to seizure of assets.
"We're taking this matter very seriously."
Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg has expressed dismay over claims the International Rugby Board had distanced itself from the stand-off, with the IRB saying it had no jurisdiction over club football.
"The club is entitled to take on whatever player they see fit," IRB spokeswoman Alison Hughes told News Limited.
"Our jurisdiction is a player must make sure he is fit to play international rugby.
"The club contract is a very different animal."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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