It seems Sonny Bill Williams has had several helpers in his French rugby union defection. It’s now come to light a New Zealand-born sports lawyer based out of the United Kingdom was a key player in the walk-out arrangement.
Despite denials, Duncan Sandlant was the mystery man photographed with Williams in a taxi leaving Heathrow airport last Monday.
In a major boost to the Bulldogs’ and the NRL’s NSW Supreme court injunction, The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal:
* Toulon recruitment agent Nicolas Pironneau is the other chief architect behind the Williams deal;
* Toulon players were informed Williams was the newest addition to their roster last Monday;
* Williams visited a Sydney bank on July 24 to withdraw all his money and transfer it to a London account;
* Bulldogs doctor Hugh Hazard has dismissed suggestions Williams was told to sign until the end of the 2012 season because he had a dodgy knee as “rubbish”.
The other man who has been instrumental in the Williams treachery is French-based Toulon agent Pironneau, who initially denied having done the deal.
The agent of Toulon coach Tana Umaga and star recruit Jerry Collins, Pironneau told The Sunday Telegraph during the week: “I understand Sonny Bill wants to meet Tana and to speak with him, but that’s all. I think there is no deal done.”
But when contacted last Friday, Pironneau changed his story, admitting he was one of the masterminds of the Toulon coup.
“I made the approach with the help of his agent in Australia and he showed great interest in the idea,” Pironneau said. “When I explained to the agent that Tana Umaga was really interested in his profile, it was a great surprise to them.”
Asked the name of the agent, believed to be renegade Khoder Nasser, Pironneau replied: “No, I don’t like your question. I understand there is a problem with Sonny Bill Williams because I read the newspapers.
“I don’t want to go into this problem. You know who the agent of Sonny Bill Williams is, I think.”
Pironneau denied knowing the whereabouts of Williams and rejected reports the Kiwi league international would be paid $3million.
“It’s bulls***. In France, international French players are not paid this kind of amount,” Pironneau said.
“Dan Carter of the All Blacks is not paid that amount. For a player that comes from rugby league, a young player … no.”
Working out of London, Sandlant met Williams at Heathrow Airport last Monday. Despite being photographed sitting next to Williams in a London cab, Sandlant denied he was the man who collected the disgruntled former Bulldog.
Questioned about Williams by a London photographer during the week, Sandlant replied: “He’s stressed, very stressed and just wants to be left alone.”
But when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph about Williams, Sandlant said: “Think you have got the wrong person here.”
The deal for Williams to flee Australia for Europe was first hatched two months ago when Toulon coach and former All Blacks centre Umaga visited Sydney.
One thought on “The Architects of the SBW treason deal”
I think all this criticism is fueled by ego’s. The reason I think this is because SBW seems a decent fellow from watching his interviews. Leopards don’t change spots. I bet there is some rule buff at the Bulldogs who likes to poke players in the eye with the rule book. I reckon you could hold SBW to a 5 year contract with a handshake but when you write some rules onto paper then keep shoving some of those rules in players faces then some player just might decide to ” go by the rules” himself. I bet that silly contract is good for the NRL but surely it can’t stop a bloke from leaving the NRL and becoming a teacher, an olympian archer or rower, or whatever. And rugby union is in the whatever class. So SBW has just done what the Bulldogs do, shoved the rule book into a few faces. If within the timeframe of the contract ( 4 years) SBW decides to come back to league then he still has a contract with the NRL which should be honored unless the Bulldogs tear it up. That is an NRL contract; not a right to breathe contract. Unfortunately great sportspeople are great at more than one sport and open to headhunting. The NRL contract is just that , a contract with the NRL, to be obeyed as long as you play NRL. Additionally the NRL doesnt own league nor does the NSWRL own league. They own a competition, not the game. The game belongs to the world.
Now because of the egos out of whack these egos are going to challenge in court, get their bums whipped and cost this great game of rugby league a whole heap of off field drama. How lucky you are that SBW didn’t open his mouth and cause a split between players and the club. How lucky you are that he took it on the chin and left silently, giving respect where it probably has not been earned.
You should be on your knees thanking SBW not herding him into court. That is where you ( the egos) will take the lid of this contract system and create havoc. Then being fully fledged egos, you will again want to blame your stupidity onto SBW. Remember SBW left silently, it was your ( the egos) choice to take the lid of the can.