Sonny Bill Williams to NRL: Leave John Hopoate alone

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand (C) is tackled by Scott Sio (L) and Bernard Foley (R) of Australia during their Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham in London, October 31, 2015. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

New Zealand rugby sevens player Sonny Bill Williams urged the National Rugby League (NRL) to let John Hopoate continue his coaching job with Manly Sea Eagles’ Under-18 side.

Williams, a two-time premiership winner, took on Twitter to share his views over Hopoate’s situation with the Manly and NRL. The Kiwi rugby sevens star believes that Hopoate should be allowed to continue mentoring the league’s rising stars, insisting that the rugby figure’s previous troubles should be already be buried.

The Sea Eagles are facing a possible sanction over Hopoate’s coaching involvement in the club’s SG Ball side last weekend. His coaching status has been approved by the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL), but the NRL, who refused to register him as an official due to his off-court troubles in recent years and deemed him unfit to be involved in games, insisted the former boxer was in breach of the league’s conduct.

Hopoate, whose 45-week suspension is the longest in the NRL history, claimed earlier this week that he is personally fit for the coaching job, citing that he has never had a complaint from parents in coaching the rugby youngsters.

“I’ve never had a parent complain about me coaching. All I’ve had is people giving a pat on the back and saying they love having me as a coach,” Hopoate told Fox Sports. “Just give me a go, move on.”

However, the NRL would not budge on their stance of not letting Hopoate do his coaching job the Under-18 side. NRL head of football Todd Greenberg insisted that the coaching dispute case has been closed after the league’s integrity unit provided the necessary information to Manly and Hopoate.

“I think we’ve made it pretty clear, the integrity unit has provided some information to them and I think that’s now closed,” Greenberg said, reports The Guardian.

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