Naughty Williams sent home



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A decision has been made by Blues management to send Ali Williams back to New Zealand from South Africa.

Recent late night excursions in Perth have culminated in a collective decision by both management and the leadership group that Williams would not be in the playing 22 for the semi-final in Durban. On this basis, Williams will return to New Zealand and is replaced by Anthony Boric, who will remain with the team until their competition is over.

Williams returned to the Blues following his reconditioning programme seven weeks ago and his reintegration to the squad has been difficult.

On several occasions, his behaviour has been deemed inappropriate within team conduct and protocol and on at least four occasions, Williams has been addressed by either coach David Nucifora and manager Ant Strachan, or the leadership group (six senior players) on behalf of the team. Examples of these indiscretions include, disrespectful behaviour within the team; issues around promotions and sponsorship commitments and a number of late night drinking incidents which contravened team protocol.

Blues CEO Andy Dalton says he is very disappointed with the situation but a series of indiscretions and Williams’ continual defiance of team protocol has resulted in him leaving the touring team.

‘In my experience, you cannot have ongoing player disruption such as this within a team ‘ even more so when on tour. Team protocols are put in place to ensure acceptable behaviour and commitment to your fellow team mates is adhered to ‘ sadly this has not been the case,’ says Dalton.

‘Respect for your team mates and coaches; sticking to the rules and doing whatever is required to make your team a success is paramount ‘ the team must come first. Ali has struggled with that this season despite several internal efforts to help address the situation by members of the Blues ‘ including the leadership group and management.

‘We will meet with him on his return to New Zealand and will investigate whether or not we need to be addressing this matter under the players’ contract and decide where we go from here,’ says Dalton

The Blues instigated a player leadership system which has worked well within the squad ‘ making players more accountable for their role within the team ‘ and answerable to their peers.

‘This increased player accountability and leadership has been instrumental in the success of the squad this year ‘ and while both the players and coaching staff have worked to address these issues with Ali ‘ it finally had to come down to what is best for the whole team,’ says coach David Nucifora.

‘Now the rest of the squad must focus on the task in hand ‘ a semi-final against the Sharks on their home turf. This is extremely important to the team who have worked very hard towards this all season.

The Blues management do not wish to go into specific details of every indiscretion as that would not be in the best interest of either Williams or the squad ‘but emphasise the issues are behavioural and relate to team protocol, not serious misconduct between Williams and any other person.

Andy Dalton, as CEO will be the spokesperson on behalf of the Blues on this matter.

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