Sonny Bill Williams’ sister Niall Guthrie is set to make a code switch from rugby union to league, agreeing to terms with the Gold Coast Titans for this year’s NRLW competition.
Guthrie has been a mainstay with the New Zealand rugby sevens team since 2015, but is on the verge of following in her older brother’s footsteps and playing rugby league in Australia.
Sources with knowledge of discussions, talking to the Herald on condition of anonymity because the NRLW contract window is yet to open for the 2023 season, said that Williams has agreed to link up with the Titans in the expanded 10-team competition.
Williams won an Olympic silver medal for New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Games, losing the final to Australia. She was also part of the gold medal-winning New Zealand sevens team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, collecting bronze four years later in Birmingham.
The 34-year-old is in the twilight of her career, notching up 43 tries in 159 appearances for New Zealand in the sevens format. She’s a former New Zealand touch football captain, also winning silver for her country at the 2011 Touch Football World Cup.
The NRLW will jump from six teams to 10 in 2023 with the addition of the Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers, Canberra Raiders and North Queensland Cowboys for this season.
The Titans had a mixed inaugural season last year. They finished third in the opening competition of the year, but couldn’t back that up in the second competition winning just one of five matches on their way to collecting the wooden spoon.
However, the addition of Guthrie will add some spark and star power to the team coached by former NRL Integrity Unit chief investigator Karyn Murphy.
Williams won’t be the only rugby sevens convert. Former Australian sevens player Evania Pelite played for the Titans last year.